Nirav Modi extradition: High security cell at Arthur Road jail could soon be the new address of fugitive diamond merchant

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Updated: Feb 26, 2021 4:45 PM

With a UK court ruling in favour of extradition of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering in Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case, Mumbai's Arthur Road jail has kept a special cell ready to lodge him, an official said on Friday.

Arthur Road jailThe Maharashtra prisons department had in 2019 shared information with the Centre about the status of the prison and facilities for lodging Nirav Modi. (Photo source: IE)

With a UK court ruling in favour of extradition of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering in Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case, Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail has kept a special cell ready to lodge him, an official said on Friday. The jail official said that once Nirav Modi is brought to Mumbai, he will be kept in one of the three cells of barrack number 12, which is a high security barrack.

“Preparations for lodging Nirav Modi in the jail have been completed and the prison cell is ready for him, whenever he is extradited,” he said. In a comprehensive extradition win for the Indian authorities, a UK judge ruled on Thursday that fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi not only has a case to answer in the Indian courts but that there is no evidence to suggest he would not receive a fair trial in India. Modi lost his nearly two-year-long legal battle against extradition on all grounds.

The 49-year-old jeweller has been repeatedly denied bail due to the seriousness of the allegations against him and remains behind bars in a London prison since his arrest in March 2019. The Maharashtra prisons department had in 2019 shared the information with the Centre about the status of the prison and facilities for lodging Nirav Modi. The Centre had sought information about it from the state home department as extradition proceedings for Nirav Modi had then advanced before the Westminster Magistrates Court in the UK, the official said.

The state government had submitted a letter of assurance to the Centre about the facilities, which they can provide inside the prison. The prison department had also assured that Modi will be kept in a cell, where the number of detainees will be few. If lodged in the barrack, Modi likely to get three square meters of personal space, where a cotton mat, pillow, bedsheet and blanket will be provided, the official said.

The prison department had also assured adequate light, ventilation and storage for personal belongings, he said. According to the official, the authorities had earlier told the government that if fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya is extradited to India from the UK, he would be lodged in the same barrack (number 12) at Arthur Road Jail. The state government had furnished a similar letter of assurance to the Centre with respect to Mallya, who is facing charges of money laundering and fraud in India. Mallya has been based in the UK since March 2016.

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