Nirav Modi claims he is borrowing Rs 9.9 lakh per month to pay UK court fines, says he has no funds
Nirav Modi claims he is borrowing Rs 9.9 lakh per month to pay UK court fines, says he has no funds: Nirav Modi, the Indian fugitive diamond merchant who is wanted to stand trial on fraud and money laundering charges in India, has claimed that he has no funds left to pay his court-ordered legal costs. He is now borrowing money to pay the fines amounting to over 150,000 pounds.
Last year, the former billionaire lost his legal battle in the highest UK court against being extradited to India in the estimated USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam case. His case is now said to be ‘statute barred’, indicating further pending litigation. Nirav remains behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London, from where he appeared via videolink for a hearing at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in east London on Thursday over unpaid legal costs, or fines, of 150,247 pounds ordered by the High Court in London, related to his extradition appeal proceedings.
During a procedural hearing for court fines, officials stated that Nirav Modi’s plea to pay 10,000 pounds a month was granted before a review hearing that would take place in six months. When asked how he planned to finance the monthly amount, Nirav told the court that he had been borrowing money because his assets had been frozen in India over the extradition proceedings and he did not have sufficient funds.
In December of last year, the Royal Courts of Justice in London refused Nirav Modi’s application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on suicide risk grounds and also refused his application to certify a point of law, effectively concluding his extradition appeal options in the UK courts. UK Home Office sources have said that this case may be subject to further litigation, which is likely to indicate a parallel confidential political asylum appeals process.
In November 2022, in the final extradition appeal hearing in the London High Court, Justices Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Robert Jay ruled that they were “far from satisfied that Mr. Modi’s mental condition and the risk of suicide are such that it would be either unjust or oppressive to extradite him”. The verdict also acknowledged that the government of India would treat its assurances on Nirav’s medical care with “appropriate seriousness” after being extradited and held at Barrack 12 of Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai.
The appeal was dismissed three years after Nirav Modi was arrested in March 2019 on an extradition warrant based on charges by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the businessman. There are three sets of criminal proceedings against the diamantaire in India, including the CBI case of fraud on the PNB, which caused losses equivalent to over 700 million pounds, the ED case relating to the alleged laundering of the proceeds of that fraud, and a third set of criminal proceedings involving alleged interference with evidence and witnesses in the CBI proceedings.
Nirav’s extradition was ordered by then UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, based on Judge Sam Goozee’s ruling in April 2021 in Westminster Magistrates’ Court.