Nirav Modi extradition case expected to move quickly
Nirav Modi is currently being held in Her Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth in south-west London, UK, after his bail application was rejected. The Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation expect the extradition case to move swiftly.
Jewellery tycoon Nirav Modi spent the festival of Holi in a cell inside Wandsworth Prison following his arrest in the UK capital earlier in the week. Modi had applied for bail but the London court denied it at a hearing on March 20, where District Judge Marie Mallon remanded him in custody until March 29. From here, he will appear before Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot at a preliminary hearing.
Modi was not granted bail as he was seen to have both the motivation and means for escape, TNN reported. Modi joins the prison’s around 1,430 male inmates in conditions that a 2018 report described as overcrowded. He was held in a police cell on March 19 after his arrest at a bank where he was trying to open an account and was transferred to the prison on March 20 after the hearing, during which he stated that he did not consent to extradition for his alleged fraud at the Punjab National Bank.
The ED and CBI foresee that the wheels will be set in motion for Modi’s extradition and that it should not take more than six months. Both agencies believe that the information provided to British authorities is sound, thanks to a prior extradition case for fellow-accused Indian Vijay Mallya which ruled out claims that the charges were politically motivated and that Indian jail conditions were inhumane. The precedent means it could be harder for Modi to argue this defence. However, Modi’s barrister did say in court on Wednesday that Modi will argue the claims are politically motivated and that he will not get a fair trial in India.
Modi will first have a “case management hearing” to set an extradition hearing. A number of hearings must take place including an opening statement by the prosecution, submission of defence evidence, review of defence evidence, response from Indian authorities, skeleton arguments by defence counsel and the final extradition hearing date. The ED and CBI will also provide additional information to British authorities about the case.
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