New Delhi: A British court on Wednesday reserved judgment in Nirav Modi’s extradition appeal after a two-day hearing and said the verdict in the case would be delivered “as soon as possible”, given that the wanted diamond dealer was in jail. a “state of limbo” as he remains incarcerated in a prison here.
On the second day of the final stage of the High Court appeal hearing, sued by Modi, 51, against his extradition to face the Indian courts in the National Bank of Punjab loan scam case estimated at $2 billion, a two-judge panel continued to hear arguments that the diamond dealer is at high risk of suicide due to his depressive state.
Her defense team claimed her depression would worsen if she was sent to the ‘hostile environment’ of India, where politicians ‘demonized’ her into prejudging her guilt, the press was ‘vitriolized’ ” and the public “burned his effigies”. ‘.
“The Indian government’s assurances should be read in a reasonably benign way and not every possible hole should be searched for,” Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith told defense barrister Edward Fitzgerald.
“It’s in your client’s interest to demonstrate that the insurance isn’t good enough, but we should take a benign approach,” he said.
Justice Robert Jay further noted that India is a “friendly foreign power and we must honor our treaty obligations”, referring to the extradition treaty between India and the UK signed in 1992.
Fitzgerald said he adopted “careful scrutiny” of assurances because while the judiciary in India is independent, the executive does not always uphold the rule of law.
“It’s not like there has been an unchecked history of full cooperation…there have been many cases where the court has found that a defendant should not be extradited to India,” he said. he declared.
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The court heard the detailed assurances offered by the Indian authorities, the cumulative effect of which would mean that the psychiatric diagnosis would be “more than adequately managed” in India.
“This is a highly publicized case in India and many eyes will be on the Indian government and Mr Modi’s care,” Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) attorney Helen Malcolm said on behalf of the government. Indian.
In addition, she pointed to several other safeguards, including daily visits from Modi’s lawyers, access from private doctors and a multidisciplinary medical team agreeing on a care plan within days of arriving in India.
The extradition appeal now hinges on the judges ruling on whether it would be oppressive to extradite Modi given his high risk of suicide, which should be high if extradited. The mental health and human rights grounds of the appeal are the only factors in play after leave to appeal against District Judge Sam Goozee’s extradition order from February last year was denied on all other aspects.
On Monday, the court heard from two psychiatric experts who had assessed Modi while he was in Wandsworth prison, south-west London, and confirmed he suffered from ‘recurrent depressive illness’ and had thoughts suicidal, believing that he would die in prison – either by himself – hurt or be killed.
Experts, however, disagreed on whether the depression was mild or moderate and what causal effect extradition would have on any suicidal impulses.
As a former ‘darling jeweler with celebrities on his arm’, the CPS admitted his mental health is expected to fluctuate but stressed the ‘very serious’ nature of the charges over the missing GNP billions. The defense responded that these were “highly contested allegations of fraud” and not terrorism or murder.
Modi is the subject of two sets of criminal proceedings, with the CBI case relating to large-scale fraud on PNB by fraudulently obtaining Letters of Commitment (LoU) or loan agreements, and the ED case. relating to the laundering of the product. of this fraud.
He also faces two additional counts of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and witness intimidation or “criminal intimidation to cause death”, which were added to the CBI case.
(This report was published as part of the auto-generated syndicate newsfeed. Other than the title, no edits were made to the copy by ABP Live.)