West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

Credit goes to journalist for Nirav Modi's arrest, says Mamata Banerjee

ANI | Updated: Mar 20, 2019 23:12 IST

Howrah (West Bengal) [India], Mar 20 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hit out at the BJP-led Centre, saying it did not deserve credit for arresting fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi in London and termed it a "got-up match."
"This is slyness on BJP's part. The credit should go to the London journalists who found Nirav Modi. It is Narendra Modi’s fault that he let him get away from the country. It's a got-up match. This arrest has happened as it is election time here," Banerjee told reporters here.
Terming Nirav Modi's arrest a "strike" by the BJP ahead of the impending Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee said there would be more such "strikes" by the ruling party during the elections.
Continuing her tirade against the BJP, the TMC supremo said: "This government has passed its expiry date and hence they cannot be given credit for Nirav Modi’s arrest."
On Wednesday, Nirav Modi was sent to HM Prison Wandsworth after his bail plea was rejected by the Westminster Magistrate Court in London. He will be in the judicial custody till March 29.
The fugitive businessman, arrested by the Scotland Yard in connection with a loan default case in India on Tuesday afternoon (local time), was produced before the Court in London, which sent him to the jail rejecting his plea for bail.
The Indian Government urged the Westminster Magistrates' Court to hear the extradition plea within two weeks, arguing that the case involves very high-value money.
Nirav Modi sought bail and offered five lakh pounds but the Court rejected it, saying that there was substantial ground to believe that the businessman may not surrender. The fugitive diamond merchant, along with his uncle Mehul Choksi, is wanted for his alleged involvement in Rs 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan default case.
Choksi was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda on January 15, 2018. Both Modi and Choksi left India in January last year before the PNB scam came out in the public. The duo has not returned to India despite repeated summons from probe agencies and courts.
A non-bailable warrant (NBW) has also been issued against Ami Modi, wife of Nirav Modi, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), said ED sources.
A London court on Monday had issued an arrest warrant against diamond merchant Modi. The arrest warrant was issued by the Westminster Court, sources said.
The arrest of Modi comes days after the fugitive businessman was tracked down to a 33-storey Centre Point Apartment complex in London’s Theatre district. The tower was an office complex and was converted into luxury residences with prices ranging from £2 million to £55 million all with superb views over the city of London.
Modi was believed to be living in a property worth £8 million apartments in the tower. The rent for a similar apartment in the tower comes to approximately £17,000 a month, Daily Telegraph had reported.
A special court under the PMLA in Mumbai on Wednesday granted permission to the Income Tax Department (I-T) to auction the paintings and cars of Nirav Modi. “A special PMLA court has allowed Income Tax Department’s application to auction some paintings from the collection of Nirav Modi. All those paintings have been seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED),” said the sources.
I-T Department had filed an application to seek permission from the special court as it had already published the auction notice. Modi is also a defaulter for the Income Tax Dept. “Through the auction, I-T Department wishes to make some recovery,” they said.
Sources said the court has allowed I-T to go ahead with the auction by the end of this month, but “all the proceeds of this auction are to be deposited in the special PMLA court.” It is said that 173 paintings and 11 cars of Nirav Modi will be auctioned. (ANI)