London: UK High Court allowed fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi on Monday to appeal against extradition to India on mental health grounds.
Back in July, Nirav Modi’s lawyer pleaded against his extradition from the UK, stating that his removal from the country would seriously cause harm to his mental health and would worsen “suicidal feelings”.
The Crown Prosecution Service, which is representing the Indian government in the above-mentioned case, dismissed fugitive diamantaire’s concerns and asked the judge to dish out the appeal.
In an application to the High Court to appeal against his extradition, Modi’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald, claimed that the 50-year-old was “severely depressed” and urged that his extradition should be blocked on mental health grounds.
The application further states that Modi’s mental health and suicidal feelings would intensify if he were to land in Mumbai’s “COVID-rich” Arthur Road Jail.
Fitzgerald further added that it would be “oppressive” to extradite the former billionaire.
Modi, who was once the jeweller to some of the biggest stars of Bollywood and Hollywood, currently stands accused of defrauding the state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) of more than USD 2 billion through a pre-planned orchestrated scam involving dummy corporations and directors.
He is also facing charges by the Indian government for witness intimidation and destruction of evidence.
Since March 2019, Modi has been held at Wandsworth Prison in London after his arrest in the British capital.
His extradition was ordered by judge Samuel Goozee sitting at Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London in February.
However, Modi’s mental health – he had claimed that depression ran in his family – and the threat of it becoming worse if he was sent back to India formed one of the pillars of his defence.
However, Judge Goozee ruled that it was not unusual for someone in Nirav Modi’s situation and incarcerated to suffer from depression and that should never be a bar to extradition.
With ANI Inputs