Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi on Tuesday lost his appeal against extradition to India in a United Kingdom High Court, reported PTI. He is accused of duping the Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore.
In February, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in the UK had ordered that the fugitive diamond merchant can be extradited to India to face trial. On April 15, UK’s Home Minister Priti Patel approved Modi’s extradition to India.
Modi was arrested on March 19, 2019, and has been lodged in London’s Wandsworth jail.
Modi had approached the High Court to determine if there are any grounds for appeal against Patel’s decision or the Westminster Magistrates’ Court order. However, the UK High Court dismissed the appeal on paper.
This leaves the fugitive businessman with the only option to make his case at a brief oral submission in the High Court to get a chance of a full hearing. Modi has only five business days to apply for the oral hearing, giving him time until next week. If the oral submission is rejected, he will have no legal remedies left in the UK. The fugitive businessman, however, can still approach the European Human Rights court, reported India Today.
In his February ruling, District Judge Samuel Goozee had said he was satisfied that Modi’s extradition to India was in compliance with human rights. “There is no evidence that if extradited Nirav Modi will not get justice.”
The judge added that prima facie there was a money laundering case against him. “I am satisfied again that there is evidence he could be convicted,” he said.
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.