Nirav Modi, the fugitive diamond dealer sought in India on fraud and money laundering allegations, has claimed that he lacks finances and must borrow money to pay court-ordered legal fees of more than 150,000 pounds.
Last year, the 52-year-old former millionaire lost his legal struggle in the UK’s highest court to avoid extradition to India in the estimated USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scandal case. But his case is now claimed to be statute barred, meaning that more litigation is still pending.
Meanwhile, Nirav remains imprisoned at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London, from where he appeared via videolink on Thursday at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in east London over unpaid legal costs, or fines, of £15247 ordered by the High Court of Justice in London in connection with his extradition appeal proceedings.
According to authorities, during a procedural hearing for court penalties, judges approved his petition to be permitted to pay 10,000 pounds per month until a review hearing in six months.
When asked how he planned to pay the monthly sum, Nirav informed the court that he had borrowed money since his assets in India had been blocked due to the extradition proceedings.
In December of last year, a two-judge bench in London’s Royal Courts of Justice denied Nirav Modi’s application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on the grounds of suicide risk, as well as his application to certify a point of law, effectively ending his extradition appeal options in the UK courts.
According to UK Home Office sources, this case may be subject to additional litigation, indicating a parallel secret political asylum appeals procedure.
In the case’s final extradition appeal hearing in the London High Court in November 2022, Justices Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Robert Jay ruled that they were far from convinced that Mr. Modi’s mental condition and risk of suicide were such that extraditing him would be either unjust or oppressive.
Its decision also recognized that the Indian government would take its guarantees about Nirav’s medical treatment if he is deported and detained at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai seriously.
The appeal was dismissed three years after Nirav Modi was detained in March 2019 on an extradition warrant based on Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) accusations.
In India, there are three sets of criminal proceedings against the diamantaire: the CBI case of PNB fraud, which caused losses of over 700 million pounds; the ED case of alleged laundering of those proceeds; and a third set of criminal proceedings involving alleged interference with evidence and witnesses in the CBI proceedings.
Priti Patel, the then-UK Home Secretary, has requested Nirav’s extradition based on Judge Sam Goozee’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court judgment in April 2021.