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Nirav Modi Seeks Permission To Appeal Against Extradition In UK SC After Setback In HC

In a last-ditch attempt to stop his extradition to India in connection with the PNB scam, fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi filed a fresh petition in the UK HC.

Written By
Akhil Oka

Image: PTI


In a last-ditch attempt to stop his extradition to India in connection with the PNB scam, fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi filed a fresh petition in the UK High Court. He has sought permission to appeal against his extradition order in the UK Supreme Court. Modi has been accused of being the principal beneficiary of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking as part of a conspiracy to defraud the Punjab National Bank to the extent of Rs 13,570 crore. Since his arrest on March 19, 2019, he has been languishing in the Wandsworth Prison after being repeatedly denied bail. 

On November 9, a bench of the UK HC comprising Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay ruled that extraditing him wouldn't be unjust or oppressive. Thus, the fugitive only had two weeks to file an application seeking an appeal on the grounds of a point of law of general public importance. As per sources, the Crown Prosecution Service acting on behalf of the Indian authorities will respond to the latest application, following which an HC judge will give his ruling. 

Legal proceedings in Nirav Modi case

Pronouncing the extradition verdict on February 25, 2021, District Judge Samuel Goozee of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that a prima facie case of money laundering is established. Noting that the Letters of Understanding had been issued between 2011 and 2017 without being entered into the CBS system of the bank to mislead authorities, he did not accept that the accused was involved in a legitimate business. Expressing satisfaction that Nirav Modi could be convicted, the judge also rejected other arguments made by the defence counsel. 

Dismissing concerns about Nirav Modi's mental health, it contradicted the allegation of overcrowded prisons in India. Maintaining that Barrack 12 of Arthur Road Jail is far more spacious than the current prison where he is being held, the judge made it clear that the Indian government doesn't need to provide further details of healthcare that will be provided to the accused. After hearing his appeal, Justice Martin Chamberlain of the HC stated that he is granting permission to appeal on Grounds 3 and 4 apart from Section 91 of the UK's Criminal Justice Act.

Grounds 3 and 4 pertain to Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights which protects a person from extradition if the court believes that he/she would face torture, degrading, or inhuman treatment in the said nation. On the other hand, Section 91 of the UK's Criminal Justice Act stipulates that the court has to consider the physical and mental condition of an individual and if it would be unjust to extradite him/her. However, with the two-judge bench of the HC ruling against Modi, his legal options have dwindled. 

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