On March 19, fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, a prime accused in the $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case was arrested in London. Next day, a London court rejected Nirav Modi’s bail application terming him a flight risk and remanded him to custody till March 29. Now, a message ascribing a statement to Nirav Modi is circulating on social media. It is being claimed that he gave the following statement in the London court.
The message reads: “नीरव मोदी का लंदन कोर्ट मे बयान,भागा नही हूं भगाया गया हूं जिसकी कीमत 456 करोड़ रुपए जो सरकार के मंत्रियों से लेकर भाजपा नेताओं और अफसरों मे बंटा है?? क्या इस न्यूज़ को मीडियावालों में हिम्मत है दिखाने की??”(Nirav Modi’s statement in London court, I had not run away, I had given Rs 456 crore to government ministers, BJP leaders and officials to help me escape the country. Did media have the courage to show this news? -translated)
लंदन कोर्ट में नीरव मोदी का बयान दिया है कि ” मैं भागा नहीं भगाया गया हूं , 456 करोड़ रुपया कमीशन खाया है भाजपा के नेताओं ने ?
A Twitter user, @MLARajeshSP tweeted the same claim which had garnered close to 400 retweets before it was deleted.
Multiple people on Facebook and Twitter have shared the message. According to the message, Nirav Modi in a London court had said that he paid a huge amount to the government minister, BJP leaders and officials to help him flee India.
A report published by the Times of India on March 21, has specifically quoted the words spoken by Nirav Modi in Westminister’ magistrate court, “I do not consent”. This was in response to a question asked by the District Judge Marie Mallon. According to the report, the only other details that he gave were his date of birth and address. Alt News couldn’t find any other media report where the statement in question was ascribed to Nirav Modi.
Alt News contacted Naomi Canton, a journalist based in London. Canton, who reports for the Times of India in the UK confirmed that the statement attributed to Modi is, “fake news”. She said, “I was in court and Nirav Modi did not say this in open court. He spoke just to confirm his name and gave his date of birth and address. He was asked if he consented to extradition and he said I do not consent. Other than that it was just his barrister who spoke and the CPS.”
A photoshopped screenshot of News 18 India is also doing the rounds on social media, where this fake statement has been credited to Nirav Modi.
A cooked-up statement was ascribed to Nirav Modi on social media to target the BJP leaders and ministers in regards to their complicity in his escape from India.