As a major turning point in PNB’s loan scam that had stirred political as well as economical worries in India a couple of years ago, United Kingdom(UK)’s Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of fugitive Nirav Modi to India. This news came to the fore as the news agency ANI quoted a Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) official through a tweet.
Incidentally, UK’s Prime Minister Mr. Borris Johnshon will visit India in the last week of April to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries to tackle future pandemics like India.
Earlier, the UK Westminster court had proceeded Nirav Modi’s extradition plea and forwarded the case to the Home Secy.
Nirav Modi was one of the main accused in the PNB loan scam and is amongst most wanted fugitives by Indian courts for fraud and money laundering in the INR 14,000-crore. Despite the latest developments, Nirav Modi has still the option of legally challenging the extradition before the UK court in a particular time period. The whole process may take months or even years, as apparent from the case of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who went to court against his extradition order signed back in February 2019.
While clearing his extradition to India, a UK judge in February dismissed arguments from Nirav Modi’s counsel on the issues of his mental health worsening due to pandemic and poor Indian prison conditions.
The judge noted that Nirav Modi wasn’t involved in legitimate business and observed there was no genuine transactions and process of honesty in the accused’s case.
In the year 2019, Nirav Modi was arrested from a metro station in London on an extradition warrant and was being repeatedly denied bell.
Nirav Modi is facing criminal charges by CBI as well as the Enforcement Directorate(ED). While with CBI, the case is related with illegal letters of undertaking or loan agreements, with the ED, it’s related to the laundering of the proceeds of that fraud. He is also facing two additional charges by CBI for evidence tampering and intimidating witnesses.
To his defence, Nirav Modi had mentioned his family history of depression and suicide along with his poor mental condition due to the pandemic. He also mentioned the poor hygiene condition of the Arthur Road prison in Mumbai, where he is to be jailed. However, referring to the Indian government’s video recording of the jail, the judge ruled out the reason.
Many investors and stake holders of PNB may heave a sigh of relief if the extradition process sees the light of the day and the Indian government succeeds to recover the money.