London: Nirav Modi, the billionaire jeweller at the heart of a more than $2 billion fraud case, has fled to the United Kingdom, where he is claiming political asylum, media reported, citing Indian and British officials.Britain's Home Office said it does not provide information on individual cases. Nirav Modi could not be contacted by Reuters for comment on the reports. Punjab National Bank said earlier in 2018 that two jewellery groups headed by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi had defrauded it of about $2.2 billion by raising credit from overseas branches of other Indian banks using illegal guarantees issued by rogue PNB staff at a Mumbai branch over several years.
Nirav Modi is in London trying to claim asylum from what he calls "political persecution", the FT reported. Ministry of external affairs reportedly told the FT the Indian government was waiting for the law enforcement agencies to approach them before pushing for an extradition, which had thus far not happened. India is already seeking the extradition of Vijay Mallya, a liquor and aviation tycoon, over unpaid loans to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines after the businessman and co-owner of the Formula One Force India team moved to Britain in March last year.