Indian diamond merchant Nirav Modi granted extradition appeal in UK

A High Court judge in London has granted Indian diamond merchant Nirav Modi permission to appeal against a magistrates’ court order in favour of extradition to India on mental health and human rights grounds.

Justice Martin Chamberlain delivered his verdict remotely under Covid-19 rules to conclude that the arguments presented by the diamond merchant’s legal team concerning his “severe depression” and “high risk of suicide” were arguable at a substantial hearing. He also noted that the adequacy of the measures capable of preventing “successful suicide attempts” at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where Nirav Modi is to be detained upon extradition, also fall within the arguable ambit.

“I will not restrict the basis on which those grounds can be argued, though it seems to me that there should be a particular focus on whether the judge was wrong to reach the conclusion he did, given the evidence as to the severity of the appellant’s [Nirav Modi’s] depression, the high risk of suicide and the adequacy of any measures capable of preventing successful suicide attempts in Arthur Road prison,” Justice Chamberlain’s ruling notes.

The case will now proceed for a substantive hearing before the High Court in London. The 50-year-old diamond merchant, wanted in India to face charges of fraud and money laundering in the estimated $2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case, meanwhile remains at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London.

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