It was in February that India's biggest banking scam came to light, involving an astronomical sum of money -- all in allegedly improperly obtained bank loans -- as well as allegations that the scam's main perpetrators, both diamond czars, were partaking in a host of other potentially fraudulent activities in the name of business. However, far from being held accountable, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi were able to escape India before the full details of their doings emerged reportedly in January 2018. A few weeks ago, Republic TV obtained confirmation, from no less than the Prime Minister of Antigua, that Mehul Choksi had become a citizen of the West Indian island nation. And now, Republic TV has tracked his nephew Nirav Modi’s addresses in plush apartments in London.
Since the stunning Rs. 12,000+ crore Nirav Modi-PNB bank scam came to light, there has been tremendous speculation about the Gitanjali Gems chief's whereabouts. Brussels, New York and Hong Kong where he had until recently been supervising his jewellery outlets, as well as other cities have been speculated, and Republic TV's investigations team chased leads in all the locations. Finally, Nirav Modi’s address was tracked down to a highrise in London by Republic TV’s Senior News Editor Shawan Sen.
Sources confirm that the addresses tracked by Republic TV is where the Indian agencies have also sent an extradition request.
Armed with spycams and deep investigation by Republic TV reporter Shawan Sen, it was revealed that Nirav Modi appears to have two addresses in the UK capital. Republic TV visited both.
The fugitive fraud-accused's first hideout is located in London's fashionable and central Westminster area, on the thirteenth and top-most floor of an upscale residential building. His flat number on the thirteenth floor is 103.
Here's an account of Republic TV's Senior News Editor Shawan Sen's attempts to reach Nirav Modi's apartment, which can be seen in the video above:
On day 1, Shawan is stopped by the building's security. They are under instructions to not let anyone in. After a steamy conversation and what seemed like the security person stalling Republic TV’s entry into the apartment building, our reporter went back on day 2.
In the biggest breakthrough in the case so far, Shawan’s day two visit saw him make his way past the security. He reached flat 103 on the 13th floor which is believed to be where Nirav Modi is holed up.
As Shawan knocks on the door repeatedly, there is no reply. Shawan then decides to check with the neighbouring flat-- Flat 104.
The flat opposite to 103 is 104. There was an 'Om' sign on the door and voices from behind are audible and terribly furious. The person inside sounded almost agitated and the accent with an British twank seems Indian at the base.
Shawan buzzes the door. A man answers the buzz and the following is the exact conversation that ensued:
Man speaks via buzzer (inaudible)
Shawan: I'm just looking for 103, who is this?
Man speaks via buzzer: This is 104.
Shawan: Can I just have a word with you?
Man speaks via buzzer: No thank you, sorry. Who are you and what are you doing here?
Man speaks via buzzer: Who are you and why are you on the 13th floor?
Shawan: I had to speak to someone at 103.
Man speaks via buzzer: I am going to call the police and the porter.
Shawan: I am sorry. I had to …
Man speaks via buzzer: On what basis have you entered the building?
Shawan: I had to meet… I had to meet
Man speaks via buzzer: I am calling the police right now and the porter. I know exactly… what are you even doing here?
Shawan: I had … actually…
Man speaks via buzzer: On what basis have you come upstairs
Shawan: No, I had to meet someone at 103 that is why …
Man speaks via buzzer: Go back downstairs and speak to the porter.
Shawan: Okay, okay. May I know who is this.
Shawan takes the elevator to the ground floor.
When Shawan reached back to the ground floor, at the reception, there are pictures of two Indian women with a note that reads, 'Ask the lady to vacate the premises'. At this point, Shawan was immediately accosted by a building staff. The interrogation lasted 15 minutes and is carried out with a professional intensity.
Far from a superficial check of personal details, Anthony, the Building Manager carefully noted every possibly detail-- in a seeming attempt that he was going to pass it on to somebody. The question, really is, who?
Here is the text of the interrogation by Anthony of Republic TV’s Senior News Editor Shawan Sen:
Anthony, Building Manager: Who are you?
Shawan: I’m from Delhi. (inaudible) Rakesh this side.
Anthony, Building Manager: You’re from Delhi. The city?
Shawan: Yes, New Delhi
Anthony, Building Manager: Delhi. So...
Shawan: I wanted to meet her. I was able to understand that she was staying at 103.
Anthony, Building Manager: Just take a seat over there for a moment. Take a seat.
(Both Anthony and Shawan walk towards the seats)
Anthony, Building Manager: Do you have any sort of ID with you?
Shawan: Yeah, I do.
Anthony, Building Manager: I haven’t got my glasses.
Shawan: This is the reference number from whom I got the address. This is my ID card.
Anthony, Building Manager: [inaudible] one minute one minute
(walks to lobby)
Shawan: This is the reference from whom I got the address. This is the lady that I am looking for.
Anthony, Building Manager: So this the lady …
Shawan: That I am looking for. 103.
Anthony, Building Manager: SEN. Okay. Right. … And is that your phone number?
Shawan: No, it is my emergency contact number. I have given my London contact number, behind.
Anthony, Building Manager: This is your ...
Shawan: This is my London number.
Anthony, Building Manager: This is your number.
Anthony, Building Manager: Okay, then who is this then?
Shawan: This is the lady that I am looking for at 103.
Anthony, Building Manager: Looking for Ami Modi. That’s a Miss or Mrs?
Anthony, Building Manager: Mrs. .. And who gave you this number?
Shawan: This address? This gentleman.
At this point, curiously, Anthony repeatedly tells Shawan that even if Nirav Modi lived there, he wouldn't meet him. If Anthony was just a regular building manager with no connection to Nirav Modi, how would he be so sure to predict what Nirav Modi would or wouldn’t have done?
At two specific occasions during the interrogation, Anthony repeats this:
In the first occasion, Anthony says, “ To be honest, I don't think I can help because probably for the agent and the person-- whoever it is-- doesn't live here anyway. If he has a big fraud case, he's not going to speak to anyone about it. That's the number one thing that anyone in those circumstances would do-- is not to speak to anyone... I know you're trying and that's your work and.. and a.. part of human nature, but I don't think you'll be lucky on this one. But, as I said, if I have any information, your number there is quite clear and your international number which is this one (gestures towards number) and this one. So yeah, if anything comes out”
In the second occasion, the reference is made with context to Nirav Modi’s wife Ami Modi as well. Anthony says, “ Ms. Ami Modi and husband. But presumably, because of what you said, that there is an ongoing investigation … If there is an ongoing investigation, it would be advisable by the lawyers (---) If it is a very big case, do you think he going to make a comment off the record? [inaudible: I know you're chancing it but … ]”
Interestingly, during the investigation and interaction with Shawan, Anthony gets a phone call on his bluetooth headphones and seems to be receiving instructions from someone.
Right after the call, Anthony then makes a revelation: another reporter has come to the building looking for Nirav Modi.
After this, Shawan is asked to leave.
It was apparent that Anthony the building manager had been collecting information on Shawan, to share with someone and assess how much information he had on Nirav Modi's whereabouts.
Meanwhile, Nirav Modi's second alleged hideout, which is listed on the CBI's extradition note, is in a fancy luxury apartment block located next to the Tower of London. Sources say that he has been shuffling between the two addresses for the last few months.
Shawan also tracked Nirav Modi down on WhatsApp using an alias and his London number. Nirav Modi responds with a question mark. On realising he's being chased, he shuts off his phone.
The fact of the matter is that as Republic TV has tracked down Nirav Modi’s London plush addresses, is it time for the agencies to close in and drag him back to face Indian law?
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