NEW DELHI/LONDON: Indian billionaire Nirav Modi, who is at the centre of a money laundering case linked to over US $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, has fled to the UK where the absconding diamantaire sought asylum claiming ‘political persecution’ back home, according to a media report on Monday. “UK authorities have confirmed Nirav Modi’s presence in Britain,” an official privy to the meeting said.“I had a very useful meeting with UK Minister Baroness Williams. We discussed about India-UK joint efforts to deal with terrorism and extremism. We also agreed to cooperate in the matters of extradition and sharing of information,” Rijiju told reporters after the hour-long meeting. Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly cheating the PNB, the country’s second largest lender, to the tune of more than US $2 billion.The duo and others are also being probed by other central agencies after the fraud came to light this year following a complaint by the PNB that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of over Rs 13,000 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank. “There are always a number of complicated cases that add a little tension and spice to our relationship with India. But there is also an appreciation from both sides that we have a legal process that has to be gone through and that we are of course governed by human rights legislation,” a senior UK Foreign Office official was quoted as saying by the report.
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