Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi on Wednesday said extradition to India would severely impact his mental health and worsen his suicidal tendencies, his lawyers cited at a London court hearing.
In a fresh appeal against extradition in the UK, Modi's lawyer cited the poor condition of Arthur Jail in Mumbai where Nirav is supposed to be kept after his extradition to India.
"The Arthur road jail cannot offer him the care he needs. It is Covid infested and Nirav won't get a fair trial (in India)," the lawyer said.
The lawyer added that understaffing of doctors and overcrowding results in delays in getting prisoners to hospitals when in need. He also cited Modi's mental health risk and suicidal tendencies from the time his mother died by suicide when he was eight-year-old as well as systematic delays in getting psychiatric consultations.
"The district judge was wrong to hold that there was nothing unusual about the Appellant's (Nirav Modi) mental condition; and wrong to focus on his present fitness to plead," Nirav's barrister Edward Fitzgerald argued.
Modi is accused of fraud and money laundering in the estimated $2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case. The 50-year old merchant applied to the UK High Court to appeal his extradition on the basis that he wouldn't receive a fair trial in India.
This recent appeal against extradition comes nearly a month after Modi lost the first stage of his extradition appeal in the UK High Court, as a judge declined permission to appeal "on the papers". He was declared a fugitive economic offender by the PMLA court in India in December 2019.
Modi's case is the most high-profile since Vijay Mallya lost his appeal against his transfer to India. Earlier this year, a London judge dismissed Modi's argument that he would face an unfair trial if he were extradited to India. Even if his current appeal attempt fails, Modi still has legal options to remain in the UK.
(Edited by Rupashree Ravi)
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