Indian Government’s two-year-long battle to bring back fugitive businessman Nirav Modi to India has finally tasted some success. A UK Court has on Thursday, accepted that prima facie, a money laundering case has been established against Modi. The fugitive billionaire is wanted for fraud and money laundering in the ₹ 14,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam
The UK’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court has also acknowledged that the diamantaire conspired to destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses and ordered that Nirav Modi may be extradited to India to stand trial.
UK extradition judge orders Nirav Modi to be extradited to India to stand trial pic.twitter.com/vsvy4wMqqk— ANI (@ANI) February 25, 2021
“I am satisfied that there is evidence that Mr Modi could be convicted”, said UK’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court’s District Judge Samuel Goozee delivering his judgment on whether the jeweller has a case to answer before the Indian courts.
It also dismissed Modi’s “mental health concerns,” as the UK judge ruled that Nirav Modi will be given adequate medical treatment and mental health care at Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai. “There is no risk of suicide for Nirav Modi if he is sent to India as he will have access to adequate medical care at Arthur Road jail. Barrack 12 at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai is fit for Nirav Modi,” said the UK judge.
UK judge rules that Nirav Modi will be given adequate medical treatment and mental health care at Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai— ANI (@ANI) February 25, 2021
UK Extradition judge rules that Barrack 12 at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai is fit for Nirav Modi.— ANI (@ANI) February 25, 2021
The ruling of the UK’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court will now be sent back to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for a sign-off, with the possibility of appeals in the High Court on either side depending on the outcome.
The high-profile extradition case of diamantaire has been continuing for over two years now. The fugitive businessman has been behind bars at Wandsworth prison since his arrest on March 20 2019. His multiple attempts at seeking bail have been repeatedly turned down, both at the Magistrates’ and High Court level, as he was deemed a flight risk.
Nirav Modi is the prime accused in the $2 billion USD PNB scam
Nirav Modi is accused in two criminal cases. First is the USD 2 billion PNB scam slapped on the diamantaire by the CBI. Second, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case relating to the laundering of the proceeds of that bank fraud. He also faces two additional charges of evidence tampering and intimidating witnesses, which were added to the CBI case.
He had fled India just before the PNB scam was brought to the light. He had left the country and fled just when PNB had reported a massive 11,300 crore loan fraud by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.
Meanwhile, Mehul Choksi, the second accused in the fraud case, has taken up the citizenship of Antigua and has been living there. The Indian government is trying for his extradition too. Both Nirav Modi and Choksi’s properties, houses, luxury items and business premises, worth thousands of crores, have been attached by the ED in India.
In June last year, the ED had recovered several consignments of diamond and luxury pearl jewellery of the duo in Hong Kong and had brought back over 108 consignments of various entities, totalling over Rs 1300 crores.