Nirav Modi to be extradited to India, rules UK court
A UK judge has ruled that Nirav Modi could be extradited to India.
The jeweller, wanted in a money-launder scam in which Punjab National Bank was skimmed off Rs 14,000 crores, pleaded with arguments on his mental health deteriorated during the Coronavirus pandemic, poor jail conditions in India etc but it had no effect on the jury.
"I am satisfied that Nirav Modi's extradition to India is in compliance per human rights," said District Judge Samuel Goozee, adding that he had the right to appeal the order.
While today's order takes Nirav Modi a step closer to extradition, it may take months yet to wade through appeals, as it has been seen in the case of another high-profile accused, liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
"There is no evidence that if extradited Nirav Modi will not get justice," the judge said, agreeing with India's submissions.
He made it clear that he felt the case for the jeweller to face trial in India was strong and that Nirav Modi had clear links with "other connivers" including bank officials in faked Letters of Undertaking that facilitated huge unpaid loans.
"Mr Modi personally subsequently wrote to PNB acknowledging the debt and promising to repay. The CBI is investigating that Nirav Modi firms were dummy partners," the judge noted. These companies were shadow companies operated by Nirav Modi, he said.
"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 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 49-year-old Modi was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers on an extradition warrant from a Metro Bank branch in central London on March 19 and has been in prison since.
The order will be sent back to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for a sign-off.
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