Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi on Wednesday lost his appeal against extradition to India from the United Kingdom, reported PTI.
The London High Court ruled that his grounds for appeal, in which he had cited a risk of suicide due to mental illness if transferred to Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, do not prevent his extradition to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering.
Modi is accused of duping the Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore. He was arrested on March 19, 2019.
In February last year, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in the UK had ruled that the fugitive diamond merchant can be extradited to India to face trial. On April 15, Priti Patel, who was then the UK’s home minister, had approved his extradition.
Modi had filed his appeal against extradition in July last year. He was granted the appeal on two grounds – under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights to hear arguments if it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him due to his mental state and Section 91 of the Extradition Act 2003, which is also related to mental health.
However, on Wednesday, Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay said that last year’s verdict was “sound”, PTI reported. “...We are far from satisfied that Mr Modi’s mental condition and the risk of suicide are such that it would be either unjust or oppressive to extradite him,” the judges ruled.
Modi can now approach the Supreme Court of UK within 14 days to challenge the High Court verdict. However, he can only appeal if the High Court certifies that the case involves a point of law of general public importance.
After exhausting all his options in the UK, Modi could still seek an injunction on his extradition from the European Court of Human Rights.