Nirav Modi’s extradition enchantment in UK highlights suicide, COVID dangers in Mumbai’s Arthur Street Jail

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LONDON: Nirav Modi faces a “substantial threat” of suicide amid an “overwhelming” affect of COVID-19 at Arthur Street Jail in Mumbai, the place he will probably be lodged on being extradited, the Excessive Court docket in London was instructed throughout an extradition enchantment listening to on Wednesday.

Justice Martin Chamberlain presided over the “renewal software” listening to, held underneath the courtroom’s COVID-19 video conferencing setting, and has reserved his judgment, to be handed down in writing at a later date, on whether or not to grant Nirav permission to enchantment towards his extradition ordered by District Choose Sam Goozee in February and authorized by UK Dwelling Secretary Priti Patel in April.

The bearded 50-year-old diamond service provider, needed in India to face prices of fraud and cash laundering within the estimated USD 2-billion Punjab Nationwide Financial institution (PNB) rip-off case, noticed the remotely held courtroom proceedings from his Wandsworth Jail in south-west London wearing a black go well with and white shirt.

Helen Malcolm, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) barrister showing on behalf of the Indian authorities, argued towards permission to enchantment by reiterating that the knowledgeable proof on Nirav’s psychological well being has not been disputed and that the regime awaiting him in Mumbai relies on assurances from the federal government of India of satisfactory medical care.

“Such a excessive stage of diplomatic assurance has by no means been breached,” she mentioned, a degree additionally asserted by the counsel showing on behalf of the UK Dwelling Secretary.

“There’s nothing to recommend that the speciality preparations in place (underneath the UK-India Extradition Treaty) usually are not efficient,” mentioned Rosemary Davidson, as she countered the defence workforce’s representations primarily based round different Indian extradition instances involving former Kingfisher Airways boss Vijay Mallya and alleged cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla.

Opening the listening to earlier on Wednesday, Nirav’s legal professionals sought to determine the grounds for a full Excessive Court docket enchantment listening to by claiming it will be oppressive to extradite him on account of his psychological situation that might result in suicidal impulses, given his household historical past of suicide of his mom, and that he’s liable to a “flagrant denial of justice” in India.

Nirav’s barrister Edward Fitzgerald argued that District Choose Goozee made a “succession of errors” in his ruling in favour of extradition in February, when he concluded that not solely was Nirav’s extreme melancholy commonplace given his incarceration, however that he didn’t exhibit a direct impulse to commit suicide.

“The District Choose was fallacious to carry that there was nothing uncommon concerning the Appellant’s (Nirav Modi) psychological situation; and fallacious to deal with his current health to plead,” mentioned Fitzgerald.

“As to the District Choose’s conclusion that ‘the Applicant’s situation will enhance on his return’ and ‘there will probably be an amelioration of his present situations of detention’, that discovering was perverse on the proof earlier than him and unsustainable within the mild of the brand new proof. It was primarily based on his evaluation that the situations within the jail at Arthur Street, Mumbai will probably be higher than they’re at HMP Wandsworth,” he famous.

Nirav’s legal professionals relied on knowledgeable proof from forensic psychiatrist Dr Andrew Forrester, introduced beforehand at Westminster Magistrates’ Court docket in London. “In my view, Nirav Modi ought to now be thought-about at substantial (which means excessive), albeit not fast, threat of suicide,” reads Forrester’s evaluation in his report dated August 27, 2020.

The legal professionals additionally submitted recent proof to say the COVID-19 pandemic is “overwhelming to the impact that the brand new outbreak of COVID renders the healthcare system on the point of collapse”. Fellow barrister, Ben Watson, argued that Choose Goozee was led into error when making his ruling in favour of a prima facie case towards Nirav over the “scope” and nature of the PNB rip-off conspiracy.

The defence as soon as once more sought to query the admissibility of lots of the proof submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), saying it is a matter that has “bedevilled many Indian extradition requests”.

“That’s to say it is an argument that has been tried plenty of occasions,” countered Helen Malcolm, as she categorised it as re-submitting of proof already handled by the District Choose.

In relation to the Dwelling Secretary’s extradition order of April, it was argued that she shouldn’t depend on Indian authorities assurances. “She (Priti Patel) failed completely to handle the proof of different breaches of commitments made to each the UK and to 3rd states,” claimed Fitzgerald.

Nirav is the topic of two units of legal proceedings, with the CBI case regarding a large-scale fraud upon PNB via the fraudulent acquiring of letters of enterprise (LoUs) or mortgage agreements, and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case regarding the laundering of the proceeds of that fraud.

He additionally faces two further prices of “inflicting the disappearance of proof” and intimidating witnesses or “legal intimidation to trigger demise”, which had been added to the CBI case.

India is a chosen Half 2 nation by advantage of the Extradition Act 2003, which suggests it’s the UK Cupboard minister who has the authority to order a requested particular person’s extradition in any case authorized points are handled within the courts.

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