London: Nirav Modi, the diamond merchant wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering in the estimated $2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case, on Thursday lost his legal battle against extradition as a UK judge ruled that he does have a case to answer before the Indian courts.
The 49-year-old appeared via videolink from Wandsworth Prison in south-west London and showed no emotion as District Judge Samuel Goozee handed down his judgment at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.
“I am satisfied on the evidence that a prima facie case of fraud and money laundering is established,”said Judge Goozee, as he read out parts of his judgment in court and concluded that he will send his ruling to the UK's Secretary of State, Priti Patel.
It is the Cabinet minister who is authorised to order an extradition under the India-UK Extradition Treaty and has two months within which to make that decision. The Home Secretary’s order rarely goes against the courts conclusions, as she has to consider only some very narrow bars to extradition which are unlikely to apply in this case, including the possible imposition of a death penalty.
Whatever the ministerial decision, the losing side – Nirav Modi – has up to 14 days within which to approach the High Court and seek leave to appeal after the Home Secretary’s decision. Any appeal, if granted, will be heard at the Administrative Division of the High Court in London.