Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi loses bid to take extradition fight to UK Supreme Court

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A Nirav Modi showroom is pictured in New Delhi, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

In a setback to fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, his plea to move the UK Supreme Court against his extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering was denied on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022.

“The appellant’s application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court is refused,” Lord justice Stuart Smith said in his statement.

The diamantaire, who fled India in 2018 before details of his alleged involvement in alleged large-scale fraud at the Punjab National Bank became public, has argued there is a high risk of suicide if he is extradited.

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The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) later welcomed the UK High Court’s decision to reject Nirav’s plea.

“India has been vigorously pursuing the extradition of economic fugitives so that they face justice in India. We welcome the decision of the UK High Court. We want to bring him to India as soon as possible,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi during a press conference.

Nirav Modi, who is a prime accused in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB scam, had fled India. He lost his appeal after he had moved the High Court in London against extradition on mental health grounds.

The bench of Justice Stuart Smith and Justice Robert Jay of the High Court said there are “no features of psychotic illness”.

The court rejected Nirav Modi’s counsel’s claims that he will die by suicide due to severe depression and said “Nirav Modi neither is nor is very likely to be at the most severe end of the scale of depressive illness”.

“He has so far displayed no features of psychotic illness. Although he has exhibited persistent suicidal ideation, he has neither attempted suicide or deliberate self-harm nor disclosed plans to do so, except in the vaguest and general way,” the court said.

The High Court also noted the steps taken to render Barrack 12 safe and to ensure that there is effective constant monitoring to reduce both the risk of attempted suicide and the prospect of suicide being committed.

Nirav Modi is presently behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in southeast London.

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