The UK court, on Thursday, ordered the extradition of fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi, wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in a Rs 13,500-crore bank loan fraud case to India. The UK Court has accepted prima facie accepted India’s change of fraud, of money laundering, of threatening witnesses, of tampering with evidence
In a quirky observation, magistrate Samuel Goozee ruled that detention conditions proposed for Nirav Modi in India are not just adequate, but a good deal better than they are in Wandsworth prison where he has been detained for almost two years, since his arrest in March 2019.
Declaring it was satisfied with all conditions necessary for extradition, the court said, “Therefore, in accordance with S.87(3) EA 2003 I am sending this case to the Secretary of State for a decision as to whether Nirav Modi is to be extradited.”
The court, however, said Modi would have the right to appeal to the High Court against the decision to send the case to the Secretary of State. However, this appeal would not be heard until the Secretary of State has made a decision, it said. Sources said now that the court has cleared the extradition, the UK government would likely move in favour of India’s request.
“Today’s judgement of Westminster Magistrates’ Court is a significant achievement in the context of CBI’s efforts to curb corruption and is a reminder that fugitives, who have eluded the process of law after commission of large value frauds, cannot consider themselves above the process merely because they have changed jurisdictions,” the CBI said in a statement.
Modi along with his uncle Mehul Choksi had been booked by investigative agencies CBI and ED in January 2018 for what is now known as the Punjab National Bank loan scam. In July 2018, India sent a request to the UK to extradite Modi based on ED and CBI charge sheets. Diamond traders Modi and Choksi had together defrauded PNB of Rs 13,500 crore through fraudulent letters of undertaking. Both fled the country before an FIR was registered by the CBI against them in 2018.