Nirav Modi's new tactic to avoid coming to India, made a new appeal in London court, told the risk of suicide
LONDON: In the extradition case of Nirav Modi, his lawyers on Wednesday told the High Court in London that the "pervasive" impact of COVID-19 in Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail would increase his chances of committing suicide. After extradition to India, Nirav is likely to be kept in this jail. Nirav (50) is wanted in connection with the $2 billion fraud from Punjab National Bank (PNB).
Nirav, lodged at Wentworth Prison in south-west London, attended the hearing digitally. His lawyers made this argument while requesting permission to appeal against the extradition order passed by District Judge Sam Goose in February and approved by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel in April. During the hearing of the fresh petition presented before Justice Martin Chamberlain, Nirav's lawyers requested a full court hearing on the ground that extradition would not be appropriate in view of his mental state as he may commit suicide.
Nirav's lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, argued that Judge Goose erred in favoring his extradition in February. The judges came to the conclusion that Nirav's severe depression was not unusual in view of his imprisonment and showed no tendency to commit suicide. Fitzgerald said, "The district judge erred in ruling that there was nothing abnormal in the mental state of the petitioner (Nirav) and that it was wrong to arrive at a result based on his current condition."
Nirav's lawyers referred to the report of forensic psychiatrist Dr. Andrew Forrester, which was earlier presented in the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. Forrester had said in the report of 27 August 2020 that not at the moment, but there is a danger of increasing suicidal tendencies in Nirav. The lawyers said that the health system was badly affected due to the Kovid-19 epidemic. On the extradition order of Home Minister Priti Patel, the lawyers argued that they should not believe the assurance given by the Government of India.
The hearing on this petition is likely to conclude on Wednesday after the arguments of the Crown Possession Service (CPS) and Home Ministry counsel on behalf of the Indian authorities against the permission of the appeal. After that it will be decided whether it needs to be heard in full at the High Court in London.