Even as the government of Narendra Modi has failed to bring back to India fugitive businessman Nirav Modi, journalists from London-based daily The Telegraph tracked the Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam accused to a posh neighbourhood in central London.
While the video of Nirav Modi, in a handlebar moustache, being quizzed by the journalists has gone viral on Indian social media, the lavish lifestyle being led by the absconding jeweller and the apparent support being provided to him by the UK authorities has raised questions about the seriousness of the Modi government to get Nirav Modi extradited, despite stern public posturing.
The Telegraph reports that Nirav Modi has been living in a three-bedroom flat in a centrally-located London locality, the rent for which could be around £17,000 a month (approx Rs 15.5 lakh). While India has been freezing his bank accounts and his properties are being seized for failure to pay back his creditors, Nirav has been running a new diamond business since May last year. The Telegraph claims that his new business is just a few yards away from his new apartment.
Embarrassingly for Modi government's diplomacy, while Nirav Modi has a Red Corner Interpol notice issued against him, he is reported to have been given a National Insurance number in recent months by the UK authorities and has been able to operate online bank accounts in the UK.
“The ability of Modi to continue living a privileged lifestyle in London will raise serious questions potentially threatening a rift between the UK and India,” says The Telegraph.
In yet another indication of his lavish ways, Nirav Modi was found to be wearing an exotic jacket made of ostrich hide when he was tracked down by The Telegraph. The newspaper revealed that the jacket could have been worth at least £10,000 (approx Rs 9 lakh).