Nirav Modi named suicide risk at UK extradition trial
Jeweller Nirav Modi’s extradition trial in London, UK saw his legal counsel name him a suicide risk and raise concerns over Indian authorities’ ability to manage possible Covid-19 outbreaks in jail.
“He has increasingly suffered from severe depression and the latest assessment shows he is on the threshold of being subject to hospitalisation unless given proper treatment,” Modi’s legal counsel Clare Montgomery said at Modi’s London hearing, the Press Trust of India reported.
“His fitness to plead may be in doubt here or in the requesting state [India] given a high risk of suicide.”
Montgomery argued that Indian prisons do not have adequate mental health facilities to keep Modi in humane conditions. She also stated that Arthur Road Jail, where Modi is set to be held until his trial if he is extradited to India, is ill-equipped to deal with the threat of coronavirus.
At the trial, Indian authorities stated that there is no current Covid-19 outbreak in Arthur Road Jail to which Montgomery responded that this is improbable. Modi’s defence also argued that his trial for fraud at the Punjab National Bank has been made into a political issue, which makes it improbable that he will receive a fair trial.
Modi, who is also accused of witness intimidation and destroying evidence as well as fraud, was arrested in London on March 19, 2019, and has been held in Wandsworth Prison to date with all bail applications being denied. As Indian authorities are working to extradite Modi from the UK, his uncle and fellow accused, Mehul Choksi, is believed to be residing in Antigua and Barbuda.
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