China has left it to Hong Kong to take a final call on the arrest of fugitive PNB scam accused, Nirav Modi. China said the special administrative region which functioned under its effective control can take a decision over the issue based on its laws and judicial assistance agreements. India has reportedly sought Nirav's arrest under the "Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Agreement" with Hong Kong.
Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh told Parliament last week that his Ministry had sought the provisional arrest of Nirav by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Asked about India's request, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing that "according to the one country two systems and basic law of HKSAR, under the assistance and authorisation of the Central Government, the HKSAR can make proper arrangement on judicial mutual assistance with other countries". "If India make relevant request to the HKSAR, we believe HKSAR will follow the basic law and relevant laws and under relevant judicial agreements with India with the relevant issue," he said.
Now that China said Hong Kong could act based on judicial agreements, officials say the "Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Agreement" between Hong Kong and India could come into play.
While Hong Kong could act on India's request, it is not yet clear whether Nirav stayed put in the former British colony where he has a diamond store beside the one in Beijing.
Modi, who is wanted in connection with the Rs 12,700-crore scam at the Punjab National Bank, is reportedly in Hong Kong which is a Special Administrative Region of China. Hong Kong was formerly a colony of the British Empire after the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island from Qing China in 1842. China resumed sovereignty over the former British colony in 1997. As a Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong maintains a separate political and economic system apart from mainland China.