A UK court has ruled that fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, who is wanted in the Rs 14,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, can be extradited to India. Nirav Modi, however, has the right to appeal against the order, the court said.
District Judge Samuel Goozee said that he is satisfied that Nirav Modi’s extradition to India is in compliance with human rights. “There is no evidence that if extradited Nirav Modi will not get justice,” the judge said, agreeing with the submissions of the Indian government.
Notably, counsel for Modi had contended before the court that his mental health is worsening during the pandemic and the poor conditions in Indian prisons.
Nirav Modi appeared via video link from prison
The Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London said that Nirav Modi conspired to destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses. The 49-year-old appeared via video link from Wandsworth Prison in south-west London.
Modi was arrested on an extradition warrant on March 19, 2019. 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.
“I do not accept that Nirav Modi was involved in legitimate business. I find no genuine transactions and believe there is a process of dishonesty,” the judge ruled.
The judge said, “There is prima facile case on money laundering against Nirav Modi… There in inevitable conclusion that there is a clear link between Nirav Modi, Nihal Modi, Mihir Bhandari, Shetty and Joshi. They have been operating dishonestly to defraud PNB.”
The manner in which Letters of Undertaking were obtained, “the combination as a whole, takes us to the conclusion that Nirav Modi and co were fraudulently operating”, the judge said.
“Many of these are a matter for trial in India. I am satisfied again that there is evidence he could be convicted. Prima facie there is a case of money laundering,” the judge added.
To read the latest news in Gujarati click here