New Delhi: After months of a legal battle in the United Kingdom and high profile political row in India, the UK home office on Friday, April 17, approved the extradition of the fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi. Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are wanted in connection with the Rs 13,578-crore fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB).
Taking cognizance of the request from CBI, a senior official in the Ministry of External Affairs had in August 2018 handed over a formal extradition request to the government in Antigua for ‘extradition of Choksi.
The legal basis for Extradition with States with whom India does not have an Extradition Treaty (“non-treaty States) is provided under the provisions of the Indian Extradition Act, 1962, which says that the Central Government may, by notified order, treat any convention to which India and a foreign state are parties, as an Extradition Treaty made by India with that foreign state.
Nirav Modi’s extradition was allowed by a British court in February this year. There is prima facie evidence against the diamond merchant, the court ruled and also said that there was no evidence to say that Nirav Modi would not get justice if he was extradited. The Judge had said: “Pulling all these findings together, I determine, on one possible view of the evidence, I am satisfied that there is evidence upon which Nirav Modi could be convicted in relation to the conspiracy to defraud the PNB. A prima facie case is established.”
The PNB fraud case against Nirav Modi is being probed by the CBI and relates to fraudulent obtaining of letters of undertakings (LoUs) or loan agreements. The services of ED were also enlisted to probe the laundering of the proceeds of that fraud. BJP leader Bhupender Yadav had in a newspaper article written sometime back.
“The law will catch up with them. This is a unique case where the government has succeeded in its attempt to extradite a fugitive hiding on foreign soil”.