Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, accused of a Rs 13,000 crore loan fraud in India, involving Punjab National Bank, has requested a London court to block his extradition to his home country, as such a move could push him to suicide.
A Bloomberg report quoted his lawyer Edward Fitzgerald as telling the court that Modi suffers a “long-standing depressive condition” and sending him to a “hostile environment,” where people burn his effigies could worsen his situation. “He is even now at suicide risk and that suicide risk will be exacerbated if extradited.”
Modi is fighting his extradition to face charges of allegedly masterminding the largest bank fraud case in India. He has contested his extradition order saying concerns over his mental health weren’t properly considered. His lawyer also denied allegations of fraud. The Indian authorities opposed those arguments, saying depression is curable and it can’t be concluded that his mental health will only deteriorate, according to Helen Malcolm, who argued for India.
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India has made assurances relating to prison conditions, health monitoring and proper treatment. “This is an extremely high profile case in India and that means there will be many eyes on him,” Malcolm said.
The day’s arguments saw an extended discussion on the definition of mild, moderate and severe depression. The arguments will continue on Wednesday.
Malcolm drew the court’s attention to a video and photographs of Arthur Road Jail’s Barrack No. 12 to reassure Modi that he would not be sequestered in an overcrowded cell, to which the defence then questioned whether Modi would face solitary confinement. The court also heard that to allay fears of solitary confinement. The Indian government had also proposed that an undertrial in a white-collar criminal case, speaking the same language as Modi, would be kept in incarceration with him in Barrack No 12.