British court hears Nirav Modi's appeal against extraditiontext_fields
A British court has opened the continuation appeal hearing of Nirav Modi's request against extradition to India on mental health grounds. An initial hearing was held in December 2021.
In February 2021, District Judge Sam Goozee's Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled in favour of the extradition.
Modi's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald QC argued in December that he was at high risk of suicide already and his condition is likely to deteriorate further in Mumbai. "Adequacy of any measures capable of preventing successful suicide attempts in Arthur Road prison" were the focal points of the appeal.
The Indian government has assured that Nirav Modi will be detained if surrendered to India and facilities to care for his physical and mental health will be provided.
In August 2021, High Court Justice Martin Chamberlain said that arguments about Modi's "severe depression" and "high risk of suicide" were arguable at a full appeal hearing.
His legal team has cited his mother's suicide, "flagrant denial of justice" in India, overwhelming effect of the pandemic in the Indian prison system as reasons why extradition to India will be "oppressive".
Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay are presiding over the hearing to determine whether the district court's ruling is incorrect because it overlooks the 51-year-old Modi's "high risk of suicide". The High Court is likely to deliver a judgement soon.
If the High Court rules in Modi's favour, he will not be extradited to India unless the Indian government gets permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on a point of law of public importance.
On the other hand, if Modi loses the appeal hearing in the High Court, he can approach the Supreme Court within 14 days of the HC verdict. For him to approach SC, the High Court will have to certify the case involves a point of law of general public importance.
Even after the UK Supreme Court rules against him, Modi still has the option to seek a Rule 39 injunction from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The diamond merchant is wanted in India for fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated USD 2 billion in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam case. Since his arrest in March 2019, he has been at Wandsworth Prison in southwest London.
Nirav Modi was born in Gujarat and held Indian citizenship. He grew up in Antwerp in Belgium and currently has Belgian citizenship. His family has been in the diamond business for several generations. He moved to Mumbai and joined his uncle's business 'Gitanjali Group' at the age of 19.