Nirav Modi Appeals to UK SC to Challenge Extradition Order

London: Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi has filed an application in the High Court of London seeking permission to appeal in the Supreme Court against his extradition order. The 51-year-old diamantaire lost an appeal on mental health grounds earlier this month after a two-judge High Court bench ruled that the risk of suicide was not such that he should be extradited to India or face trial. 

“On the basis of the assurances that the Indian government has given, we accept that there will be suitable medical provision and an appropriate plan in place for the management and medical care of Mr Modi, which will be provided in the knowledge that he is a suicide risk (i.e. a person who, in the absence of preventative measures, may or will attempt suicide and will or may succeed)”, Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay said in their order. 

Accused Nirav Modi faces charges of cheating and money laundering in the estimated USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam case. In the year 2018, a scam of Rs 114 billion came to light in PNB, the country’s second-largest government bank. At that time, PNB had alleged that billionaire jewelry designer Nirav Modi obtained money abroad from other Indian banks by obtaining fraudulent affidavits from a branch of the bank in Mumbai. 

In this case, which is called the country’s biggest banking scam, PNB suspended ten of its officers and complained to the CBI. After the news of the scam surfaced, PNB shares fell by nearly 10 percent, wiping out nearly Rs 4,000 crore of investors. Reports claim that the fraud in Punjab National Bank was going on since 2011 and senior officials of the bank were involved in it. 

In a statement issued on its behalf, PNB said that some account holders benefited from fraudulent transactions in one of its branches in Mumbai. According to the statement, on the basis of transactions done on behalf of Nirav Modi’s brother Nishal, wife Amy, and Mehul Choksi, the accused obtained loans abroad from other Indian banks. Mehul Choksi was a relative of Nirav Modi and the owner of the jewelry chain Gitanjali. He too fled the country after the scam came to light.

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