New Delhi: Fugitive diamantaire and main accused in the Rs 11,400 crore PNB scam case, Nirav Modi, was arrested on Wednesday in London. He is expected to be produced before the court later on Wednesday. 

According to Enforcement Directorate sources, the agency has got permission from the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai to sell 173 paintings and 11 cars belonging to Nirav. 

A non-bailable warrant has also been issued by the PMLA court against Nirav’s wife, Ami Modi.  

On March 19, a London court issued an arrest warrant against Nirav, the main accused in the Rs 11,400 crore PNB scam case, in response to a request by the Enforcement Directorate for his extradition. 

Meanwhile, CBI sources said that all efforts are being made to get jeweller extradited from the UK. 

They said the central investigation agency is monitoring the developments in London and all legal assistance is being extended to take the extradition request forward in that country.

Also read: PNB scam accused Nirav Modi slapped with arrest warrant in London in response to ED's request

The CBI and the ED are investigating Nirav, his uncle Mehul Choksi and others for money laundering and corruption perpetrated at the Brady House branch of the PNB in Mumbai. 

Nirav reportedly left the country on January 1 last year, only weeks before the CBI received a complaint from PNB on January 29.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, tried to find a political angle in Nirav's arrest. "They (BJP) had only helped him flee the country, now they are bringing him back. They are bringing him back for the elections, they will send him back after elections," Azad tweeted, unmindful of the fact that the PNB scam took root in 2011 when Manmohan Singh was leading the UPA government at the Centre.

In seven years, the PNB, along with other banks, gave letters of undertaking (LOUs) to Nirav and Choksi's company. It helped Nirav and Choksi to get credit from Indian banks having overseas branches like Allahabad Bank, Indian Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and others. 

Banks give LoUs to other banks as a security to meet liabilities on behalf of a customer. LoUs are similar to a letter of credit or guarantee. According to data, LOUs were issued from overseas banks from 2011 to 2017.

Earlier this month, Nirav's seaside mansion in Maharashtra, estimated to cost over Rs 100 crore, was demolished.

The  33,000 sq ft bungalow, according to authorities, was illegally build and it violated coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms.

The fixtures from the bungalow will be up for auction. Three items, a jacuzzi, a chandelier, and a Buddha statue were kept aside for handing over to the ED. 

Modi's bungalow was attached by the ED following his involvement in the PNB fraud case. It was handed over to the collector's office on January 24, after the ED seized two trucks full of valuables from the building.

Nirav is not the first big fugitive, against whom action as been taken under the Narendra Modi government. While Nirav’s possible extradition will strongly cement the credentials of the ‘chowkidar’ in banishing corruption and mounting a crusade on the corrupt, the extradition of liquor baron Vijay Mallya and AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel, were big victories for the Modi government. 

Mallya has defrauded a group of 17 Indian banks of approximately Rs 9,000 crore and had also allegedly sent around Rs 900 crore, which was loaned to Kingfisher Airlines, abroad. There are cases of money laundering and dishonouring of cheque against Mallya too. 

In February, UK home secretary Sajid Javid ordered the extradition of Mallya on charges of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering offences.

In December, Michel was extradited from the UAE and is facing investigation for his role in Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, allegedly involving the Gandhi family.

Prime Minister Modi had always maintained that he is the ‘chowkidar’ (vanguard) of the country, and in a tweet a few days ago, he said, “Your Chowkidar is standing firm and serving the nation”, and encouraged the people of the nation to take the #MainBhiChowkidar pledge against corruption.