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FILE PHOTO: A Nirav Modi showroom is pictured in New Delhi, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

(reuters_tickers)

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Interpol has issued a red notice request to find and arrest fugitive Indian billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, who is at the heart of a $2 billion-plus bank fraud case, the international agency said on its website.

Federal police last month asked Interpol to issue a red notice to locate Modi, who has been charged in relation to India's biggest banking fraud.

The Financial Times, citing Indian and British officials, said last month that Modi had fled to Britain claiming political asylum.

Government-backed Punjab National Bank (PUB) earlier this year said that two jewellery groups headed by Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, had defrauded it of about $2.2 billion (1.7 billion pounds) by raising credit from other Indian banks using illegal guarantees.

An internal probe by PNB found that the fraud might have been orchestrated by a few rogue employees, and it escaped detection because of widespread risk-control and monitoring lapses in many areas of the bank.

A red notice is a "request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition", according to Interpol.

"Interpol cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual who is the subject of a red notice," it says on its website. "Each member country decides for itself what legal value to give a red notice within their borders."

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Reuters