London: The much awaited extradition of multi-crore Punjab National Bank scammer and billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi to India has finally been cleared by United Kingdom’s home secretary Priti Patel, according to CBI officials. The fugitive Nirav Modi is accused of his alleged involvement in the ₹14,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud. He had allegedly perpetrated the fraud in the PNB in collusion with his uncle Mehul Choksi.
On February 25, a Westminster Magistrates’ Court allowed Modi’s extradition. The findings of the court were sent to the UK Home Department as per which it cleared the extradition.
This development came after a UK court ruled that Nirav Modi could be extradited to India after dismissing arguments like his mental health worsening during the pandemic and poor Indian prison conditions, news reports said.
“I am satisfied that Nirav Modi’s extradition to India is in compliance per human rights,” UK district judge Samuel Goozee was quoted as saying. He added that Modi had the right to appeal.
Earlier, foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said that since the Westminster Magistrate’s Court “has recommended Nirav Modi’s extradition to the UK Home Secretary, the government of India would liaise with the UK authorities for his early extradition to India.”
“There is no evidence that if extradited Nirav Modi will not get justice,” the UK judge said, agreeing with India’s submissions, according to the news reports.
He made it clear that he felt the case for the fraudster to face trial in India was strong and that Modi had clear links with “other connivers” including bank officials in faked letters of undertaking that facilitated the clearance of huge unpaid loans.
“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 judge was quoted as saying.
To note, Nirav Modi was arrested in 2019 from a metro station in London on an extradition warrant, since then legal formalities were negotiated between the two nations for his extradition.