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Saturday, 16 October 2021 2.27 PM IST

Nirav Modi can be extradited to India, says UK Court

nirav-modi

LONDON: Jeweller Nirav Modi, wanted for fraud and money laundering in the ₹ 14,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, can be extradited to India, a UK judge ruled today, dismissing arguments like his mental health worsening during the pandemic and Indian prison conditions.

"I am satisfied that Nirav Modi's extradition to India is in compliance per human rights," District Judge Samuel Goozee said, adding that he had the right to appeal the order.

"There is no evidence that if extradited Nirav Modi will not get justice," the judge said, agreeing with the submissions of the Indian government.

The judge indicated the case for the high-profile jeweller to face trial in India was strong. He said there were clearly links between Nirav Modi and other connivers including bank officials in clearing Letters of Undertaking that facilitated huge unpaid loans.

"Modi personally subsequently wrote to PNB acknowledging the debt and promising to repay. The CBI is investigating that Nirav Modi firms were dummy partners," the judge noted. These companies were shadow companies operated by Nirav Modi, he said.

"I do not accept that Nirav Modi was involved in legitimate business. I find no genuine transactions and believe there is a process of dishonesty."

The manner in which Letters of Undertaking were obtained, "the combination as a whole, takes us to the conclusion that Nirav Modi and co were fraudulently operating", the judge said.

"Many of these are a matter for trial in India. I am satisfied again that there is evidence he could be convicted. Prima facie there is a case of money laundering."

Nirav Modi, 49, appeared via video conferencing from Wandsworth Prison in south-west London at the Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The Judge said they have received 16 volumes of evidence from India.

The magistrates' court ruling will be sent back to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for a sign-off, with the possibility of appeals in the High Court on either side depending on the outcome.

Nirav Modi was arrested on an extradition warrant on March 19, 2019.

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