April 12 (ANI): The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) confirmed on Thursday that the Hong Kong authorities, who, under a treaty with the Indian Government, are obliged to surrender a fugitive wanted by India, have not sent word regarding Nirav Modi's whereabouts yet.
The ED has conducted searches and seizure of Modi's company Firestar Diamond and its assets in connection with a money laundering case related to the Punjab National Bank fraud case, estimated to be worth over Rs 11,000 crore. It has sent a request to Hong Kong for the diamond trader's provisional arrest.
"We have requested the authorities in Hong Kong to surrender Nirav Modi", external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing in New Delhi.
Parliament was earlier informed that Modi is present in Hong Kong. "We are still awaiting a response", he added.
Investigation agencies have identified more than 30 overseas bank accounts linked to diamond merchant Nirav Modi in various countries, two of which have been frozen in Belgium. India has reportedly sought Nirav's arrest under the "Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Agreement" with Hong Kong.
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Expressing "serious concern" over Nirav Modi's statement to investigative agencies that he will not submit to their jurisdiction, the court said "we are dealing with a fugitive here according to them (ED)".
Modi, a regular on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013, along with his group companies - Diamond R US, Stellar Diamond and Solar Exports, and an uncle and business partner and others have been named in the huge scam, admitted by the PNB in February and leading to a massive upheaval in the country's banking system.
Hong Kong was formerly a colony of the British Empire after the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island from Qing China in 1842.
Kumar said New Delhi was still awaiting a response from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.