UK court to decide on Nirav Modi’s extradition today: Case so far
Nirav Modi is accused of fraudulently obtaining letters of undertaking or loan agreements and laundering the proceeds of that fraud. He also faces charges of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses
A UK court will on Thursday rule whether jailed diamond merchant Nirav Modi could be extradited to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering. Here is all you need to know about the case:
• Nirav Modi, 49, is expected to appear via video link from Wandsworth Prison in south-west London before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as judge Samuel Goozee is set to hand down his judgment.
• The court ruling will then be sent to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel with the possibility of appeals in the High Court from either side depending on the outcome.
• Modi was arrested on an extradition warrant on March 19, 2019.
• He has appeared via video link from Wandsworth Prison for a series of court hearings in the extradition case.
• His multiple attempts for 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 subject of two sets of criminal proceedings.
• He is accused of fraudulently obtaining letters of undertaking or loan agreements and laundering the proceeds of that fraud.
• Nirav Modi also faces charges of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses or “criminal intimidation to cause death”.
• The Crown Prosecution Service has sought to establish a prima facie case against him and that there are no human rights issues blocking his extradition.
• Videos have been played in the court as proof of Nirav Modi’s involvement in intimidating dummy officers of his companies to remain out of the reach of Indian investigating authorities.
• His lawyers have claimed that the entire issue is a commercial dispute involving authorised but ill-advised lending. They have claimed that none of his actions meet the legal threshold of perverting the course of justice or amounted to fraud.
• The defence has also relied on arguments around Nirav Modi’s precarious mental health condition, as he has a family history of depression and suicide.
• Westminster Magistrates Court has also heard detailed arguments from both sides about why Modi’s “deteriorating” mental health condition does or does not meet the Section 91 threshold of the Extradition Act, 2003.
• The threshold was most recently used in the UK to block the extradition of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange on the grounds of it being “unjust and oppressive” as he is a high suicide risk.
• Conditions at Barrack 12 in Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where Nirav Modi is to be held, have also been in focus.
• The Indian government has submitted an updated video recording of the cell to highlight that it meets all human rights requirements of natural light and ventilation.
• Nirav Modi’s is one of the extradition cases involving accused Indian economic offenders in the UK.
• Former Kingfisher Airlines chief Vijay Mallya remains on bail as a “confidential” matter related to his extradition to India is being resolved.
• Arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari’s extradition case is scheduled for its next hearing in April.
• In February 2020, bookie Sanjeev Chawla was extradited to face charges in India.