The Scotland Yard police on Wednesday claimed it has arrested fugitive Indian jeweller Nirav Modi, a key accused in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB scam case. Sources in the Enforcement Directorate, on whose extradition application the Scotland Yard made the move, said that Modi would be produced in The Westminster Magistrate Court in London today at 3 pm London Time.
What does the arrest mean?
The arrest of Nirav Modi by UK authorities officially heralds the beginning of extradition proceedings against the jeweller in London. He is likely to be released on bail after he is produced before the court. The court will then issue notices to the prosecution which will contact Indian authorities to produce necessary evidence and chargesheets in the court. A team from ED will soon travel to London to assist the Crown Prosecution service in fighting the case.
What is likely to happen in court?
The court will basically decide on whether the offences Nirav Modi is charged with would be punishable in courts in UK as well. It will also look into whether Nirav Modi’s extradition to India will in any way violate his human rights. These will include assurances from the Indian authorities that he would get a fair trial and would be provided with proper facilities and security in jail in India. It’s a process that was also followed in the case of Kingfisher Airlines owner Vijay Mallya whose extradition was recently allowed by the court in London.
What happens after the court allows Modi’s extradition?
The court after approving extradition will send the order to UK Home Office for confirmation by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid. The court order, however, can be challenged by Modi with the permission of the UK High Court within 14 days of the order being issued. In case no appeal is made, Modi would have to be extradited within 28 days. Read: Special court gives IT department go-ahead to sell Nirav Modi’s 11 cars
If the order is confirmed even during the appeal, it would be at the discretion of UK Home Secretary. Mallya’s extradition is presently pending at this stage.
What is Modi accused of?
Nirav Modi along with his uncle Mehul Choksi is alleged to have siphoned off Rs 13,500 crore from the coffers of Punjab National Bank through fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking and letters of credit. Investigations by CBI and ED have found that Modi diverted a large part of these funds to family members and for personal purposes. ED has already attached properties worth over Rs 1873 crore belonging to Modi while assets worth Rs 489.75 crore have been seized. The attachments include assets worth Rs 961.49 crore located in Hong Kong, Switzerland, UK, USA, Singapore and UAE.