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Nirav Modi will be allowed to appeal his extradition to India on mental health grounds, the UK High Court has ruled.
Nirav Modi will be allowed to appeal his extradition to India on mental health grounds, the UK High Court has ruled.

Disgraced jewellery mogul granted right to appeal extradition

Disgraced celebrity diamond dealer and jewellery mogul Nirav Modi has been granted permission to appeal his extradition from the UK to India on mental health grounds.

Modi, 50, was arrested in London in March 2019 and faces a raft of charges in India relating to the $US1.8 billion ($AU2.3 billion) Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud.

"In an application to the UK High Court, Modi's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said that extradition to India would seriously impact his 'severely depressed' client's mental health and his 'suicidal feelings' would worsen"

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation began investigating Modi in February 2018 for his involvement in what is reportedly the country’s largest-ever bank fraud.

It is alleged that between 2011 and 2017, Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi – the managing director of jewellery company Gitanjali Gems – conspired with bank officials at PNB, India’s second largest government-run bank, to fraudulently obtain loans.

Modi has been in custody in the UK for more than two years and on 25 February 2021, Westminster Magistrates Court District Judge Samuel Goozee ruled in favour of extradition, finding that a “prima facie case of fraud and money laundering is established”.

He dismissed the defence’s claim that Modi would not receive a fair trial in India and was facing worsening mental health. However, Judge Martin Chamberlain of the UK High Court ruled that an appeal looking at the impact on Modi’s state of mind is “reasonably arguable”.

In an application to the UK High Court, Modi's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said that extradition to India would seriously impact his "severely depressed" client's mental health, according to media reports, and that Modi's "suicidal feelings" would worsen if he were to be imprisoned in Mumbai, which is currently in the grip of a COVID-19 outbreak.

He reportedly added that it would be "oppressive" to extradite Modi.

Choksi extradition takes a turn

In April, Jeweller reported that the separate extradition of Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi, who has also been charged in relation to the PNB fraud, could be delayed by more than seven years.

Choksi has resided in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda since 2017 and claimed Antiguan citizenship in January 2018 through the country’s Citizenship By Investment program.

"While authorities allege Choksi attempted to flee the country, he claims he was the victim of an 'inhuman and brazen kidnapping attempt'"

While it was previously reported that Choksi’s citizenship had been revoked, a senior official within the Antiguan government has since clarified that the case is before the country’s High Court.

In a strange twist, Choksi recently spent 50 days imprisoned on the neighbouring island of Dominica after going missing from Antigua in late May. 

While authorities allege Choksi attempted to flee the country, he claims he was the victim of an "inhuman and brazen kidnapping attempt" orchestrated by Indian authorities. 

India Today quotes Choksi as saying, “Till now I have been seriously considering to return to prove my innocence in India, [but] my medical condition is very bad and it has worsened like anything in the last over 50 days of my kidnapping. I am extremely apprehensive of my safety in India."

Choksi was granted bail in July and allowed to return to Antigua in order to receive medical treatment.

At the time of publication, Indian authorities had not commented on the allegations; the matter is under investigation by Antiguan police.

Choksi's extradition case is ongoing.

 

More reading:
Nirav Modi extradition approved by UK government
Court rules to extradite disgraced jewellery mogul Nirav Modi
Nirav Modi extradition trial to conclude this month
Nirav Modi extradition case edges forward
Nirav Modi's 'Ponzi scheme' extradition trial begins in London
 











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