Nirav Modi’s lawyer pleads against extradition from UK; indicates COVID and suicide risk

NIrav Modi

Nirav Modi, the fugitive diamantaire, has told the UK High Court that extradition to India would have a detrimental effect on his mental health and would exacerbate “suicidal feelings.”

Modi’s lawyers also argued before the UK High Court that extradition would constitute a “flagrant denial of justice” due to his severe and ongoing mental health problems, which would require him to be “sectioned” under UK law.

Modi’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, stated in a High Court application to appeal against his extradition that Modi was “severely depressed” and requested that the extradition be halted on mental health grounds.

Additionally, the application asserts that Modi’s mental health and suicidal thoughts would deteriorate if he were to end up in Mumbai’s “COVID-rich” Arthur Road Jail.

Fitzgerald claimed that extraditing the 50-year-old former billionaire would be “oppressive.”

Modi, who was once the jeweller to some of Hollywood and Bollywood’s biggest stars, is charged with defrauding the state-owned Punjab National Bank of more than USD 2 billion through a carefully orchestrated scam involving dummy corporations and directors.

Additionally, the Indian government has charged him with witness intimidation and evidence destruction.

Since his arrest in the British capital in March 2019, he has been held at Wandsworth Prison in London.

Modi’s extradition was ordered in February by Westminster Magistrate’s Court judge Samuel Goozee.

Modi’s mental health – he claimed depression ran in his family – and the threat of it worsening if he was returned to India formed a pillar of his defence.

Judge Goozee, on the other hand, ruled that depression is not uncommon in someone in Modi’s situation and while incarcerated, and thus should not be a bar to extradition.

Fitzgerald contended in his application to the High Court that Judge Goozee made a “succession of errors,” including the assertion that conditions at Arthur Road jail would be better than at Wandsworth.

He cited the Covid 19 pandemic rampaging through Maharashtra as an example of how the state’s healthcare system was on the verge of collapsing, which would result in Modi not receiving the care he requires.

The Crown Prosecution Service of England, which is representing the Indian government in the case, dismissed Modi’s concerns and requested that the appeal be dismissed.

A decision is expected in the near future.

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