LONDON Nirav Modi, the main accused in the $2 billion PNB scam case, has been arrested in London and remanded in custody by a court till March 29.
His arrest came days after a London court issued an arrest warrant against him in response to a request by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his extradition in a money laundering case.
It emerged in court that Nirav Modi was arrested from a Metro Bank branch in London by uniformed officers on Tuesday when he went there to open a new bank account.
A bank clerk alerted Scotland Yard as a result of the “high publicity” surrounding the case and Metropolitan Police officers arrived to execute the arrest. This over-rode a previous arrangement made between Scotland Yard’s extradition unit and Nirav Modi’s lawyers for him to surrender by appointment at a central London police station on Monday, something his legal team blamed on the nature of publicity surrounding the case.
The location of the arrest indicates that Nirav, wanted in India in connection with the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank scam case, was arrested from the area where he was reportedly living.
A British daily had recently published a report and video showing Nirav Modi walking on the streets of London and said the fugitive diamantaire was living in a swanky £8 million apartment in the city’s West End.
It also emerged in court that Nirav Modi was in possession of at least three passports, all revoked by India.
The court was told that Nirav Modi arrived in London in January last year before any of the allegations emerged and has maintained a very “visible” presence in the country and offered to cooperate with the UK authorities since his arrival.
He is currently employed by Diamond Holdings Ltd in London for a monthly salary of 20,000 pounds and pays his council tax regularly, his lawyers stressed in support of his defence.
Nirav Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, are the main accused in the PNB scam and they both left India before the details of the fraud came to light in January 2018.
Nirav Modi had launched his own eponymous brand in 2010 and he soon opened stores across India, as well as in New York, London and Hong Kong.
His diamond-encrusted designs were worn by noted Hollywood as well as Bollywood stars.
His jewellery shops were raided and his assets frozen after the allegations emerged last year.