United Kingdom’s Home Minister Priti Patel on Friday approved the extradition of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi to India, where he will face trial, ANI reported.
Modi is accused of duping the Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore. He was arrested on March 19, 2019, and has been lodged in London’s Wandsworth jail.
On February 25, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court had said it was satisfied that Modi’s extradition to India is in compliance with human rights. District Judge Samuel Goozee had added that prima facie there was a money laundering case against him. “Many of these are a matter for trial in India,” he had said. “I am satisfied again that there is evidence he could be convicted.”
The Central Bureau of Investigation had said the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruling was “significant” and that it should serve as a reminder to all fugitives, who have indulged in large value frauds, that they cannot escape the law merely by changing their countries of residence, PTI reported.
In a statement, the CBI said the court order vindicated the painstaking probe carried out by the agency especially since Modi had raised various issues on admissibility of evidence, fairness of investigation, trial, prison conditions, availability of health facilities in India and extraneous consideration, with a view to divert attention from his own actions.
Modi is facing two sets of criminal proceedings. The Central Bureau of Investigation case relates to the large-scale fraud upon PNB through the fraudulent obtaining of “Letters of Understanding”, while the Enforcement Directorate is investigating the laundering of the proceeds of that fraud.
He also faces two additional charges of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses, or criminal intimidation to cause death added to the CBI case.
Throughout the proceedings of the case, which went on for two years, Modi has denied the charges and opposed the efforts to extradite him from Britain to India. But his multiple attempts at seeking bail was repeatedly turned down as he was deemed a flight risk.