In a major victory for India's external affairs ministry and the legal team, the UK government has finally cleared the extradition of scam accused billionaire Nirav Modi. UK home secretary Priti Patel signed the extradition order on Thursday,15th April 2021.
Earlier on 25th February 2021, the UK Westminister court had allowed the extradition plea and sent the decision to the UK home secretary for further ratification.
The UK Magistrate has found Nirav Modi guilty on all charges levelled by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the bodies probing the Punjab National bank scandal to the tune of 14,000 crores. He was found to have colluded with bank officials to defraud PNB and intimidating witnesses. Further, there was a clear case of money laundering and conducting illegitimate business. The UK Court had found the evidence produced in the court as credible and decided in favour of Indian authorities to extradite Nirav Modi.
As per UK extradition laws, the home secretary needs to ratify the decision, which it did on Thursday. Nirav Modi can again appeal against the extradition order in UK high court.
Modi has been behind bars in the UK since March 2019, and his bail plea has been rejected multiple times as courts feared he would jump the bail. Modi had complained against inhuman conditions of Indian jails, especially Arthur road jail and also his bail plea showed a family history of suicide and depression. The court rejected all these after the Indian legal team showed video proof of conditions in Arthur Road jail, claiming it met all human rights requirements of natural light and ventilation.
"Modi fears prosecution in India. Although he has expressed suicidal thoughts, the government of India has reassured safe conditions in prison through a video in August. The video shows better sanitation and hygiene than the video in 2019," said the judge, reported NDTV.
Economic Times report says that Nirav Modi's bail has been rejected 7 times till now, and it took 2 years for the extradition trial to conclude. Nirav Modi still has two chances to appeal to UK higher courts and to apply for political asylum.