Nirav Modi, a fugitive economic offender, has lost his appeal, and the UK High Court has ordered his extradition to India to face fraud and money laundering charges. The 51-year-old diamond merchant’s petition against extradition to face Indian courts in the estimated $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam case was denied by the high court.
Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay delivered the verdict following an extensive hearing on the appeal against District Judge Sam Goozee’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruling in favour of extradition last February. The 51-year-old businessman is currently imprisoned in Wandsworth, south-east London.
Nirav is facing two sets of criminal charges, one with the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with a large-scale fraud against PNB through the fraudulent obtaining of letters of undertaking (LoUs) or loan agreements. The other case is a money laundering investigation launched by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The court had said that the government need not pick holes in the Indian side’s assurances that diamantaire would be given adequate medical care at the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai. Modi is facing charges of fraud and money laundering.
The defence also claimed that the Executive did not always follow the rule of law, despite the fact that India’s judiciary is independent. However, the Crown Prosecution Service argued on behalf of the Indian government that safeguards such as access to private medical practitioners, daily visits by Nirav’s lawyers, and a multidisciplinary medical team agreeing on a care plan within days of his arrival in India were in place.