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Nirav Modi gets nod to appeal extradition to India on grounds of mental health, suicide risk | India News

LONDON: Billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, who is detained in a London prison, has been granted permission to appeal against extradition to India on the grounds that he is mentally ill, poses a high risk of suicide and that it could be oppressive to extradite him.
Handing down judgment at the high court on Monday, Justice Chamberlain granted Nirav permission to appeal on two grounds: that his extradition could be contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment; and that it could be oppressive to extradite him by virtue of his mental and physical health pursuant to Section 91 of the Extradition Act of 2003.
On February 25 at Westminster magistrates’ court district judge Samuel Goozée had concluded that despite an “undisputed diagnosis of severe depression”, there were no bars to extradition and had sent Nirav’s case to UK home secretary Priti Patel. She ordered his extradition on April 15. On July 21 Nirav sought permission to appeal against Goozée and Patel’s decisions.
In his written judgment Chamberlain said: “The question for me is whether the appellant’s case on these grounds is reasonably arguable. In my judgment, it is. I will not restrict the basis on which those grounds can be argued, though it seems to me that there should be a particular focus on whether the judge was wrong to reach the conclusion he did, given the evidence as to the severity of the appellant’s depression, the high risk of suicide and the adequacy of any measures capable of preventing successful suicide attempts in Arthur Road prison.”
At the July 21 hearing Nirav’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, had argued that Goozée was wrong to discount Nirav’s high risk of suicide on the basis that it was not “immediate”. “It requires the court to ask what will happen if a person suffering from a mental disorder who might commit suicide is extradited,” he said.
“The level of medical care afforded to prisoners at Arthur Road Jail has been completely inadequate for over 20 years, and the deficiencies are particularly acute in respect of experienced psychiatric staff. The problems will be exacerbated by the pandemic. The judge was wrong to rely on the government of India assurances,” he said.
Nirav (50) will be able to argue these grounds at an appeal hearing. Whichever side loses could seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on a point of law.
Nirav is subject to three extradition requests. The first relates to fraud worth over Rs 7,000 crore on Punjab National Bank; the second relates to money laundering; and the third relates to interference with evidence and witnesses.
Chamberlain refused to give permission to appeal on the other grounds sought, ruling there was a “prima facie case” and that the offences were extradition offences, branding Justice Thipsay’s submissions on this as “irrelevant”. He refused to entertain arguments that Nirav would not receive a fair trial in India because Christian Michel had been “mistreated” or that Indian politicians were trying to influence the outcome.

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