NIRAV MODI: From the Heaps of Gemstones to the London prison
Synopsis- The 50-year-old alleged money laundered and one of the main accused Mr. Nirav Modi can now be extradited to India as per the latest UK Court’s decision. From a billion-dollar lifestyle to being thrown in a cell of one of Europe’s most overcrowded prisons. Let’s see how the Gujrati gemstone trader fell from grace.
The Nirav Modi story and the ruling of the court just a day before the former tycoon’s 50th birthday is ironic to the core. A person who transacted, owned, and flaunted millions of dollars, grew up in Belgium will now be tried by the Indian courts for his major involvement in the $2 Billion PNB Fraud and money laundering.
The diamond merchant has been locked up in Wandsworth Prison of London since March 2019 after his arrest on an extradition order. While hiding in London, he stayed in his luxurious penthouse in London, visiting a certain new jewelry business.
After his attempt of voluntary surrender and striking a bail deal, the CBI and the ED presented in court by the Crown Prosecution Services presented evidence in favor of the case and repeatedly rejected the conditions and bail deal.
Nirav’s billionaire lifestyle was abruptly ended with his detention in shared cell. Even high profile people would be envious of his previous extravagant lifestyle which involved celebrities, diamonds, and red carpets. However at this point of time, Modi’s only hope is an appeal.
The UK court’s proceedings were rather interesting, when his former associate and advisory board member, Thierry Fristch tried to advertise Modi’s integrity, business skills, and passion for the jewelry industry in India. Thierry Fristch is a French high-end jewelry expert.
Another expert, Dr. Richard Tailor attempted to direct the court’s direction towards creating an image of Nirav Modi- as a leading merchant, designer, and a person with a trust who hoped to bring his brand at the global level. Extradition charges were designed to be viewed as nothing more than a commercial dispute.
The prosecution in turn provided the court with evidence such as videos and documents that clearly threw light on the true capabilities of the merchant. These documents and video footage provided evidence of misuse of the banking credit facilities of the country leading to fraud. It even pointed in the direction of the threats given out to certain frontier companies so that Nirav Modi and his company can escape the clutches of the authorities.
Further, Nirav’s lawyers contended about his deteriorating mental health conditions and his suicidal tendencies, coupled with the possibility of biased trial in the country. But in the end the UK court District Judge Samuel Goozeesaid, “I am satisfied that Nirav Modi’s extradition to India is in compliance per human rights.”
The diamond trader however still has the right to appeal the order. “There is no evidence that if extradited Nirav Modi will not get justice.” The judge further noted the case to that of prima facie money laundering in India.
He accepted that while Nirav’s mental health had deteriorated but added that his risk of suicide does not meet the high threshold to label the extradition order “unjust or oppressive”. Under the UK Extradition Act 2003, the court will send its finding to the Secretary of State for Home Affairs.
Priti Patel has two months within which to make the decision. The Home Secretary’s order rarely goes against the court’s conclusions, as she has to consider only some very narrow bars to extradition which are unlikely to apply in this case, including the possible imposition of a death penalty.
Now, the trader’s side has up to 14 days to appeal and if granted, it will be heard at the Administrative Division of the High Court in London. Nirav Modi, now still remains detained in the Wandsworth Prison while waiting for the Minister’s decision.
The once billionaire trader who was respected and feared among his competitors is now likely to face charges of money laundering, fraud, criminal intimidation, destruction of evidence, and other such charges back in India.