Days after Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday rejected the bail plea of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, the PNB (Punjab National Bank) scam accused, who is currently in London jail, applied for citizenship of Antigua. However, as per reports, the Antiguan authorities on Monday have rejected his application.
Apparently, his uncle and another fugitive diamantaire, Mehul Choksi is also currently residing in Antigua. Both absconding fugitives Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi are main accused of defrauding India's second largest state-run bank PNB to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore.
Meanwhile, the extradition process against absconding diamond jeweller Mehul Choksi has already begun in Antigua, as per a report by news agency PTI. The Antigua officials stated that Indian investigative agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have sent across documents to them in order to peruse and send back Choksi to India.
“The extradition process against Choksi is on and we are hopeful of a positive response from the authorities of Antigua and Barbuda,” they said.
Antigua, the Caribbean nation, provides citizenship under its 'citizenship by investment' category, on the basis of which Nirav Modi's uncle Mehul Choksi had applied for its citizenship in March 2017. It was granted to him in January 2018.
Nirav Modi was arrested by the London Police on March 20, following which his bail in his extradition case got rejected at Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 29 despite his defence team vehemently trying to establish his close ties to the UK.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot declined the bail application of the 48-year-old prime accused in the $1-2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case on the grounds that he did pose a "substantial" flight risk and that he lacked "community ties" with the UK.
The Income Tax department had on March 26 auctioned the artworks owned by Nirav Modi in Mumbai, for Rs 59.37 crore.