Home » UK High Court orders Nirav Modi’s Extradition to India

UK High Court orders Nirav Modi’s Extradition to India

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 3 minutes read

By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Nov 10:

The High Court in London on Wednesday ordered fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi’s extradition to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering, amounting to an estimated Rs 14,000 crore in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam case.
Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay, who presided over the hearing of appeal against the order of District Judge Sam Goozee delivered in February 2021, noted that Judge Goozee’s order in favour of extradition was “sound”, agency reports stated.
Modi’s lawyers had challenged a court order allowing the British government to extradite Modi citing his mental health and risk of suicide. However the London’s High Court in Wednesday dismissed the appeal, saying Modi’s risk of suicide does not rule out his extradition.
Now Modi can approach the Supreme Court, against the High Court’s decision within 14 days. If all avenues in UK courts are exhausted, he can seek a Rule 39 injunction from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), legal experts here said.
PNB fraud
Modi’s alleged fraud came to light when PNB reported fraudulent activity at one of its branches, on January 25, 2018. Modi and officials at PNB issued fraudulent Letters of Undertakings (LoU) to overseas banks to obtain buyer’s credit.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had alleged that Modi diverted over Rs 4,000 crore of the Rs 6,519 crore outstanding fraudulent LoUs issued by PNB to his firms, through 15 “dummy companies” based in the UAE and Hong Kong. The ED submitted to the UK court, transcripts of Modi’s conversations that allegedly show he tampered with evidence and intimidated witnesses while facing investigations in India.
Modi (51) fled India on January 01, 2018. India then issued an Interpol Red Notice for his arrest and London authorities were asked to execute it. He was arrested in March 2019, and his extradition was approved by the court in February 2021. Then UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, ordered Modi’s extradition based on Judge Goozee’s ruling in April 2021. The case has been undergoing an appeals process since then. Modi remains lodged in Wandsworth Prison in southwest London.
Modi is the subject of two sets of criminal proceedings, with the CBI case relating to a large-scale fraud upon PNB through the fraudulent obtaining of LoUs or loan agreements, and the ED case relating to the laundering of the proceeds of that fraud.
Extradition Treaty
India is a designated Part 2 country by virtue of the Extradition Act 2003, which means it is the UK Cabinet minister who has the authority to order a requested person’s extradition after all legal issues are dealt with in the courts.
The legal action in India
On October 31, 2022, a special court allowed the ED to confiscate 39 properties belonging to Modi under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act 2018. A similar order was first passed in 2020. The Act has provisions to act against those evading the process of law by fleeing from the country. Under the Act, the court can declare a person a fugitive economic offender and subsequently also order confiscation of his properties. Modi’s properties include Rhythm House at Kala Ghoda (South Mumbai), valuables seized from his bungalow in Alibaug (Raigad, Maharashtra) and 22 cars.
The son of a diamond merchant, Modi built an international jewellery empire that stretched from India to New York and Hong Kong. Forbes once ranked him as India’s 85th richest man, with a net worth of $1.8 billion.

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