Fugitive Indian businessman Nirav Modi on Thursday suffered a setback in his legal battle against his extradition to India as the London High Court denied him permission to appeal against the move in the UK Supreme Court.
In a judgment order pronounced at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay ruled that “the Appellant’s (Nirav Modi) application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court is refused”.
Modi, who fled India in 2018, days before details of his alleged involvement in Rs 11,000 crore fraud at the Punjab National Bank became public, had argued there is a high risk of suicide if he is extradited. In a ruling delivered speedily within just over a week of the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) submitting its response to the 51-year-old diamantaire’s permission to appeal application on behalf of the Indian government, the judges also ruled that the “certification of a point of law be refused” that would have allowed his plea to progress to the higher court. An appeal on the grounds of a point of law of general public importance is a high threshold that is not met very often and this refusal significantly limits Modi’s remaining legal options in the UK against extradition to India.
Last month, Modi lost an appeal on mental health grounds when the same two-judge High Court bench ruled that his risk of suicide is not such that it would be either unjust or oppressive to extradite him to India to face charges in the loan scam case. The London High Court had stated, “We are far from satisfied that Mr Modi’s mental state and the risk of suicide are such that it would be either unfair or oppressive to extradite him.” The dismissal of the High Court appeal last month marked a major win for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) case against the businessman, who has been behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in London since his arrest on an extradition warrant in March 2019. Modi can now apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to try and block his extradition on the basis that he will not receive a fair trial and that he will be detained in conditions that breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the UK is a signatory.
The latest High Court order also directs Modi to pay the legal costs related to the latest application, assessed in the sum of Great Britain Pound (GBP) 150,247.00.
His uncle, Mehul Choksi, who has taken up citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda, is also accused of cheating PNB and wanted by agencies in India.
(With inputs from PTI)
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