Fugitive billionaire diamantaire Nirav Modi was, in an unprecedented move, denied bail by the United Kingdom’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court on March 20. He is now going to be in UK police custody till the date of the next hearing, which is March 29.
Nirav was arrested on March 19 from London’s Holborn Tube metro station by the Scotland Yard. He is the main accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case.
Nirav was caught walking the streets of London by a UK-based daily, The Telegraph. Even though the journalist persistently asked questions, Nirav gave the same two words as the response – “No Comment”.
The 48-year-old is currently said to be living in a three-bedroom apartment in London’s posh Centre Point tower and has travelled in and out of London at least three times since his passport was cancelled by the Indian authorities in February 2018.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are investigating Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, who has fled to Antigua, for money laundering and corruption to perpetuate the scam in the Brady House branch of the PNB in Mumbai that was unearthed in early 2018.
The ED had requested for Nirav’s extradition in the money laundering case. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid had certified India’s extradition request for Nirav Modi earlier this month, kick-started by the issuance of a warrant and triggering the legal process in courts. The Interpol had issued a Red Corner Notice to Nirav in June 2018 after appeals made by CBI.
On March 19, the CBI sources had even confirmed that the Ministry of External Affairs has expedited efforts to extradite the fugitive.
The process of extradition can, however, be long and tedious, just as in the case of beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya. The extradition process involves a number of steps:
Step 1: The request for extradition will be made by India to the UK’s Secretary of State.
Step 2: The Secretary of State certifies the request and sends it to courts, where the judges decide whether to issue a warrant.
Step 3: The person wanted is arrested and brought before the court and an extradition trial ensues.
Step 4: Once the extradition hearing begins, the judge needs to be satisfied with the following parameters:
a) Conduct amounts to an extradition offence (dual criminality)
b) None of the statutory laws barring extradition applies
c) There is prima facie evidence of guilt (in accusation cases)
d) Whether extradition would breach the person’s human rights
Human rights form a very crucial part of the process, hints of which were visible during Vijay Mallya’s trial. The liquor baron had contested his extradition on grounds of the inhospitable conditions in the Arthur Road prison, where he is bound to be lodged after being sent back to India.
Step 6: The judge sends his verdict to the Secretary of State. The accused can appeal the decision in a higher court.
Extradition is prohibited if:
a) The person could face the death penalty
b) If the person is prosecuted for offences other than the offences for which they have been extradited
c) The person has already been extradited to the UK from a third state or transferred from the international criminal court
Step 7: If none of these prohibitions applies, the Secretary of State formally orders extradition.
Nirav Modi in police remand till March 29: What does his future hold? – Moneycontrol.com