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Indian diamond tycoon wins bid to appeal extradition from UK on mental health grounds

Written by on 09/08/2021

Diamond tycoon Nirav Modi has won permission to appeal against his extradition to India on mental health grounds.

Mr Modi, 50, is accused of defrauding a state-owned bank out of more than a billion pounds, as well as witness intimidation and destroying evidence.

One of India’s richest men, whose jewels have been worn by the likes of Priyanka Chopra-Jonas and Kate Winslet, he has been held in HMP Wandsworth since 2019.

On Monday, a High Court judge in London granted him permission to appeal against being sent back to his homeland.

Mr Justice Chamberlain said Mr Modi had an “reasonably arguable” case after his lawyers told the court he was a high suicide risk and that Indian prisons would struggle to provide proper psychological care.

Mr Modi was told at a hearing in February that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute him.

District Judge Sam Goozee ruled there were no bars to extradition and dismissed suggestions he would not be treated fairly in India.

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He also rejected claims that Mr Modi was an immediate suicide risk due to a lack of evidence from doctors.

The judge said the decision on extraditing the billionaire could be made by the Home Office, which later ordered his removal.

Mr Modi began his fight against that decision in July, arguing the judge was wrong to conclude it was lawful to extradite him.

Security guards stand inside Nirav Modi showroom in New Delhi, 2018
Image: Security guards inside the Nirav Modi showroom in New Delhi in 2018

Lawyers said that because of his mental ill-health, extradition would be unjust and incompatible with his right not to face inhuman or degrading treatment.

The COVID pandemic and its resurgence in India was also cited as a reason against the extradition.

While the court approved the appeal on mental health grounds, it rejected the continuation of his appeal on other grounds, including that his extradition would breach his right to a fair trial.

Permission to appeal against the Home Office’s decision to order Mr Modi’s extradition was also refused.

Mr Modi was accused in 2018 by Punjab National Bank of being one of the main suspects in India’s largest bank fraud, totalling around $2bn (£1.5bn).

He left India the same year and was arrested in London in March 2019, shortly after media reports that he was living in an £8m flat in the capital.

His uncle, Mehul Choksi, is also wanted by Indian authorities in connection with the scam. He left India for the Caribbean island of Antigua when the allegations emerged.

 Sky News

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