Nirav Modi's extradition to India cleared: What next
The minister of external affairs (MEA) has said the Indian government will liaise with authorities in the United Kingdom for the early extradition of Nirav Modi after a British court ordered the jailed diamond merchant's extradition to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering. The UK court had ordered Modi to be extradited to India to stand trial after dismissing arguments of his "mental health concerns," saying they are not unusual in a man in his circumstances.
"Now since the Magistrates' Court has recommended Nirav Modi's extradition to the UK Home Secretary, the government of India would liaise with UK authorities for his early extradition to India," Anurag Srivastava, MEA spokesperson, said on Thursday according to news agency ANI.
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The district judge at the Westminster Magistrates' Court Samuel Goozee said that there is no evidence to suggest he would not receive a fair trial in India. Nirav Modi, who is wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering in the estimated $2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, lost his nearly two-year-long legal battle against extradition on all grounds as Goozee also said that there are no human rights concerns that the medical needs of the 49-year-old would not be addressed as per several Indian government assurances.
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The UK court's ruling comes after a nearly two-year-long legal battle for Modi's extradition, who is wanted for money laundering in the PNB scam. Under the UK Extradition Act, 2003, the judge will now send his findings to the UK secretary of state for home affairs, Priti Patel. The UK cabinet minister is authorised to order extradition under the India-UK extradition treaty and has two months within which to make that decision. The home secretary's order rarely goes against the court’s conclusions, as she has to consider only some very narrow bars to extradition which are unlikely to apply in this case, including the possible imposition of a death penalty.
Modi has up to 14 days to approach the high court and seek leave to appeal after Patel has made her decision known. Any appeal, if granted, will be heard at the administrative division of the high court in London. For now, he will remain on remand at Wandsworth Prison until the home secretary decides to sign off on the extradition order.
Modi was arrested on an extradition warrant on March 19, 2019, and has appeared via videolink from Wandsworth Prison for a series of court hearings in the extradition case. 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.
Modi also faces charges of money laundering, destruction of evidence and witness intimidation apart from those relating to defrauding PNB through the use of fraudulent loan agreements to the tune of $2 billion.
(With agency inputs)