London: The high court in London held that since India is a “friendly foreign power”, the UK must not pick holes in the assurances by the Indian government that Nirav Modi will be provided with adequate medical assistance.
Hearing Nirav Modi’s plea against extradition to India, the court said, “India is a “friendly foreign power” and the UK must honor its extradition treaty obligations by not picking holes in the government’s assurances that Nirav Modi will be provided with adequate medical care at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai while on trial for fraud and money laundering”.
“The government of India assurances should be read reasonably benignly, and one should not pick every possible hole in them,” Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith told defense barrister Edward Fitzgerald.
However, the 51-year-old diamond merchant’s defense team claimed the depression that Modi is having could worsen with his extradition to India due to the hostile environment in the country where politicians demonized him.
Modi’s defense team accused the media of being vitriolic against him and highlighted how the public burnt his effigies.
Earlier this week, the court heard from two psychiatric experts who had assessed Nirav while in Wandsworth prison in south-west London and confirmed that he suffers from “recurrent depressive disorder” and has suicidal thoughts, believing that he will die in prison – either by self-harm or be killed, reported PTI.
However, the experts refused to agree on the state of depression – mild or moderate. They could not concur whether Modi’s extradition would causatively affect any suicidal impulse.
“This is an extremely high-profile case in India, and there will be many eyes on the government of India and on Mr Modi’s care,” said Helen Malcolm, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) barrister, on behalf of the Indian government.
Nirav Modi is a diamond merchant facing charges of fraud and money laundering in India in connection with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam of approximately $1.5 billion. Nirav Modi fled India when the PNB scam was unearthed, and a multi-agency probe began.