Nirav Modi was spotted on the streets of London last week looking somewhat different and wearing an extravagant ostrich-leather jacket, the government insisted there had been no delay on India’s part in efforts to prosecute him and extradite him.
British authorities have had no response to several queries they’ve sent for information. In fact, a legal team from the UK also offered to come to India to help facilitate action against Nirav Modi but allegedly got no response from India, said leading media house.
According to leading media house, Serious Frauds Office in London that the first time that India sent an alert to the UK was under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) way back in February 2018. This was soon after the CBI first registered the criminal case against Nirav Modi and his family members for cheating the taxpayer of Rs. 13,000 crores of money in the Punjab National Bank Scam.
While earlier, legal assistance for catching offenders abroad could be tedious and time-taking, the legal assistance treaty meant that the Home Ministry could directly forward summons or warrants to the Indian High Commission in London, which would then forward it to the central authority. In this case, the central authority in Britain decided that between the crown prosecution service and the SFO, it was the serious frauds office that was more appropriate to handle a request for taking action against Nirav Modi.
The Serious Frauds Office confirmed to India by March that Nirav Modi was in the UK. At that time, Indian officials were struggling to determine whether he was in Europe or Hong Kong; it was only months later that they confirmed he was in the UK. The frauds office also assigned a counsel to help India with its case — lawyer Barry Stancombe, a junior barrister who specialises in fraud and money laundering.