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Nirav Modi loses appeal against extradition to India. What’s next for him?



(South Asian Insider Bureau) Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi lost his appeal in a UK high court against extradition on mental health grounds. In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, Lord Justice Stuart-Smith and Justice Jay concluded, “We are far from satisfied that Nirav Modi’s mental condition and the risk of suicide are such that it would be either unjust or oppressive to extradite him.”Nirav Modi, who is currently behind bars at Wandsworth prison in London, had fled India when the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam was unearthed. Nirav Modi is the prime accused in the Rs 13,000 crore PNB scam.
Since the diamond merchant fled the country, the Indian government has been trying to extradite him to face charges of fraud and money laundering. In a big win for India, a UK court on Wednesday rejected fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi's plea against extradition to India.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR NIRAV MODI?
With the High Court rejecting Nirav Modi’s appeal against the extradition order, what recourse does Nirav Modi have?
As he has lost this appeal hearing, Nirav Modi can approach the Supreme Court on a point of law of public importance, to be applied for to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s decision within 14 days of a High Court verdict.
Human Rights Barrister and head of Trent Chambers, Usha Sood, spoke to India Today about what steps Nirav Modi can take.“Once the court of appeal has rejected Mr Modi’s appeal then only recourse is to try and appeal to the Supreme Court on the grounds of – the court overlooking a point of public importance. This is extremely difficult to surmount. In most cases lawyers do not advice this route,” Usha Sood said. She added, “There is also a possibility of approaching the European Court of Human Rights to try and apply for an injunction against the UK government on the basis of his fundamental human right being at stake.

”Nirav Modi might also consider seeking political asylum like Vijay Mallya. The proceedings of this are confidential unlike an extradition case.Nirav Modi is the subject of two sets of criminal proceedings in connection with the PNB scam. The CBI is probing a large-scale fraud upon PNB through the fraudulent obtaining of letters of undertaking (LoUs) or loan agreements while the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is investigating the laundering of the proceeds of that fraud.
Additionally, Nirav Modi also faces two additional charges of "causing the disappearance of evidence" and intimidating witnesses or “criminal intimidation to cause death”, which were added to the CBI case.
The government is trying to extradite him to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering.

EXTRADITION PROCEEDINGS SO FAR
Nirav Modi, who fled India in wake of the PNB scam, was arrested in March 2019 and the extradition case began in the Westminster Magistrates Court (district court). The hearing took place over two weeks of May and September 2020 before District Judge Goozee. Closing submissions were presented in January 2021 and his extradition was ordered on the February 25, 2021. The Secretary of State signed off the extradition on April 15, 2021.On August 9, 2021, 51-year-old Nirav Modi, lodged in Wandsworth prison since March 2019, sought permission to appeal against the extradition order given by district Judge Goozee. Nirav Modi was granted permission to appeal against the Westminster Court order under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights to assess if it would be, “oppressive to extradite him,” considering his mental state of depression and suicidal tendencies.
Responding to this point, the UK high court order on Wednesday said, “The risk of deterioration of the underlying depression and the risk of suicide cannot be considered in a vacuum. On the basis of the assurances that the GoI (Government of India) has given, we accept that there will be suitable medical provision and an appropriate plan in place for the management and medical care of Mr Modi, which will be provided in the knowledge that he is a suicide risk (i.e. a person who, in the absence of preventative measures, may or will attempt suicide and will or may succeed). The evidence does not support a finding that the assured steps will eliminate the risk that Mr Modi will commit suicide altogether, still less the risk that he will attempt to do so.