Nirav Modi files appeal in UK high court against his extradition to India
Fugitive businessman Nirav Modi filed his initial grounds for appeal against his extradition to India in the UK high court of justice on Wednesday, people familiar with the development said on Saturday. Nirav Modi’s appeal is both against the Westminster magistrate court’s order on February 25 directing his extradition to India and April 15 approval by UK home secretary Priti Patel. Patel approved Modi’s extradition almost two months after a court found him guilty of fraud and money laundering in the Punjab National Bank scam case.
According to his legal team, the perfected grounds of appeal are being prepared and will be filed soon and there are initial grounds of appeal.
Nirav Modi’s original defence is that he won’t get a fair trial in India and he is being targeted due to political reasons. He has also cited the poor conditions of jails in India and said that the evidence against him is weak.
Westminster district judge Sam Goozee, while ordering his extradition on February 25, said Modi has a case to answer in India as he, along with his brother Nehal Modi and others, had defrauded the public sector bank, laundered the money taken from it and conspired to destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses. Goozee observed that the circulation of pearls, diamonds and gold between Nirav Modi’s firms and Dubai- and Hong Kong-based dummy companies was not genuine business and the companies were being used for transferring funds generated in the guise of sale-purchase/export-import of goods colloquially referred to as round-tripping transactions.
Nirav Modi’s contention that he won’t get a fair trial in India and that he was being targeted due to political reasons was junked by the court.
Nirav Modi has been lodged in Wandsworth prison on the outskirts of London since March 19, 2019, when he was arrested on the basis of India’s extradition request.
After former liquor baron Vijay Mallya, whose extradition has been cleared by a trial court in the United Kingdom, Nirav Modi is the second high-profile economic offender. Mallya lost his appeal against extradition in April 2020 as well as any opportunity to approach the UK Supreme Court the next month but the British government has claimed that his extradition is held up due to a “confidential legal issue”.