Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi is wanted in India in the $2 billion PNB scam case. (File photo)
NEW DELHI: A London court on Thursday ruled that fugitive diamond merchant
could be extradited to India in connection with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case. Once extradited to India, Nirav Modi will face charges of fraud, money laundering, alleged intimidation of witnesses and disappearance of evidence.
The diamond merchant is wanted in connection with the $2 billion PNB scam case.
What's likely to happen now ...
As witnessed in the extradition case of former Kingfisher Airlines chief Vijay Mallya, there is still some way to go before Nirav can be formally moved from Wandsworth Prison in London to a jail in India and face trial.
* After the court ruling, British home secretary Priti Patel will now have to sign off on the matter.
* Once Patel makes her decision known, Nirav Modi will have 14 days to challenge the order in the UK high court.
* Any appeal, if granted, will be heard at the administrative division of the high court in London.
* He can also challenge the order in the Supreme Court, but only if the high court certifies that the appeal involves a point of law of general public importance
* Patel is likely to clear the extradition, as the UK home secretary's order rarely goes against the court's conclusions
* In case extradited, Nirav Modi would be held at Barrack No 12 at the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.
Extradition Act 2003
India is a designated Part 2 country by virtue of the Extradition Act 2003, which means it is the UK cabinet minister who has the authority to order a requested person's extradition after considering a number of further issues.
Under the provisions of the act, the UK secretary of state must consider the possible imposition of the death penalty, in which case extradition cannot be ordered.
The rule of specialty, which prohibits a person being dealt with in the requesting state for matters other than those referenced in the extradition request; and whether or not the person was in the UK following extradition from another state, in which case that states permission must be obtained before extraditing to a third state.
If the above scenarios do not prevent extradition, the UK minister must order it within two months of the day on which the district judge referred his decision to the UK secretary of state, in this case by the end of April.
India to seek early extradition
Meanwhile, Nirav Modi's legal team did not immediately confirm if he intends to appeal against Thursday's ruling in the high court and he will remain behind bars at Wandsworth Prison on judicial remand until the next stage in the legal process.
Reacting to the ruling, the government said it will liaise with the UK authorities for early extradition of Nirav Modi.
(With inputs from agencies)