Fugitive diamond trader Nirav Modi has petitioned the High Court in London seeking permission to appeal against his extradition order to the Supreme Court.
The 51-year-old diamond merchant lost an appeal on mental health grounds earlier this month when a two-judge court ruled that his risk of suicide was not such that it would be either unjust or oppressive to extradite him to India to to face allegations of fraud and money laundering in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam case worth an estimated $2 billion.
Nirav Modi, who is behind bars in London’s Wandsworth Prison, had two weeks to file an appeal on a public interest point of law, which experts say is a high threshold that is not often achieved.
It is not known if or when extradition will take place as Nirav Modi still has legal challenges ahead of him, UK Home Office sources said.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), acting on behalf of Indian authorities, is now expected to respond to the latest application, after which a Supreme Court judge will issue a paper ruling – without a full hearing.
The whole process may eventually fall into the New Year given the Christmas holiday next month.
On November 9, Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay, who had presided over the appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, ruled that they were “far from satisfied that Mr Modi’s mental state and risk of suicide had be that it would be either unjust or oppressive to extradite him”.
Their verdict also found every reason to accept that the Government of India (GOI) will treat its assurances about Nirav’s medical care at Barrack 12 of Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai with “due seriousness”.
“Based on the assurances given by the Government of India, we accept that there will be appropriate medical facilities and an appropriate plan for the management and medical care of Mr Modi, which will be provided in the knowledge that he is a suicide .” risk (meaning a person who, in the absence of preventive measures, may or will attempt suicide and will or may succeed),” the verdict read.
If his attempt to have his appeal heard at the Supreme Court fails, Nirav Modi could, in principle, apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to try to block his extradition on the grounds that he has no due process and that he will be held in conditions contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the UK is a signatory.
Moreover, the threshold for an appeal to the ECtHR is extremely high, as he would also have to demonstrate that his arguments on that ground have previously been rejected before the British courts.
The rejection of the Supreme Court’s appeal earlier this month marked a major victory for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) case against the businessman, who has since been arrested under an extradition warrant in March 2019 is in prison.
The latest Supreme Court ruling listed three sets of criminal proceedings against the diamond trader in India: the CBI case of fraud on the PNB that caused a loss of more than GBP 700 million, the ED case involving the alleged money laundering of the proceeds of that fraud and a third set of criminal proceedings concerning alleged interference with evidence and witnesses in the CBI proceedings.
The then British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, had ordered Nirav’s extradition on the basis of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruling of Judge Sam Goozee in April 2021 and the case has been under appeal ever since.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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