United Kingdom’s Home Secretary Priti Patel today cleared fugitive billionaire Nirav Modi’s extradition to India. With this, the first hurdle of bringing the scam-accused diamantaire back to India and have him face the court of law is cleared.

The development of Modi’s extradition papers being cleared comes after Modi lost a battle against his deportation back to India in UK. On February 25, the UK’s Westminster Magistrate’s Court in its ruling struck down Modi’s defence.

UK Court Strikes Down Modi’s Defence

The Westminster Magistrates’ Court judge, Samuel Goozee, struck down all defences of Modi claiming he won’t receive a fair trial back in India. In the ruling the judge also said how there are links between Modi and other conspirators including PNB employees.

“No genuine transactions, process of dishonesty”: UK Judge

“I do not accept that Nirav Modi was involved in legitimate business. I find no genuine transactions and believe there is a process of dishonesty,” the judge had said.

Moreover, the judge in his ruling also said, “No reason to believe that India judiciary is partial,” and dismissed Modi’s objection plea. The defence had stated that Modi may not get the justice he deserves due to biased media and political pressure.

Modi’s defence had also contended that his mental health has worsened due to the pandemic and how Modi might face human rights violation in India. The UK court dismissed this contention as well.

May take Modi weeks, years to come back to India

Although Modi may have been forced one step further towards receiving justice, one should know that it may not be all that simple. The signing of the paper may not mean that he will be brought back to India immediately. Modi can still avail legal remedies at his disposal.

He may approach Supreme Court, appeal to the UK courts for asylum, etc. Moreover, even if he doesn’t avail any such remedies, he may still take months and years to come back to India. Case in point Vijay Mallya who was also ordered to be extradited back to India in 2019 but is still in UK.

Case against Nirav Modi Explained

Nirav Modi was accused of laundering and routing money worth Rs. 13,600 crores. His modus operandi was routing transactions using fraudulent LoU (letter of undertaking) of PNB (Punjab National Bank). After the scam was revealed in open, he left India in 2018.

According to the ED (Enforcement Directorate), Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi siphoned Rs. 4,000 crores of the outstanding fraudulent LoUs worth Rs. 6,519 crores. He used 15 fraudulent companies that he claimed were based in UAE and Hong Kong.

Tampering with evidences, intimidating witnesses

When he was facing the heat of the investigation, the Enforcement Directorate collected evidences where Modi was found to be tampering with evidences and even intimidating witnesses. The evidences were later submitted by the agency to the UK court in the form of transcripts.

Later it was found out by the CBI through the probe that certain officials from PNB helped Modi by issuing fraudulent LoU since 2008.

Different cases Modi faces

Currently, Modi faces 3 different cases:

1) A CBI case in which he is alleged to be using PNB’s fraudulent LoU’s.

2) An Enforcement Directorate case on the siphoning and laundering of money.

3) Another ED case in which Modi is charged with evidence tampering and intimidation of witnesses.

Nirav Modi’s defences so far

In his defence, Modi never accepted any claims of wrongdoings and denied all allegations. Standing in the UK court, he claimed that he obtained the LoU through the standard practice that all companies had.

The lawyers who represented Modi submitted in the UK court several legal opinions from Indian High Court judges and legal expert giants from India. These judges and legal experts claimed that the charges against Modi were false. In the court of law, his defence also claimed that Modi suffered from severe depression.