The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) yesterday said it is reviewing the London High Court ruling to grant fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi permission to appeal against his extradition order with the Indian government for the next stage in the legal process.
On Monday, High Court judge Martin Chamberlain granted Modi permission to appeal against a Westminster Magistrates’ Court order in favour of extradition to India on mental health and human rights grounds.
The CPS, which represents the Indian authorities in court, highlighted that the appeal can be heard at a full hearing on two grounds related to the mental health of the 50-year-old diamantaire Modi is lodged at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London as he fights his extradition to face charges of fraud and money laundering in the estimated USD 2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case.
“Nirav Modi has been granted permission to appeal his extradition to India on two grounds. The CPS is reviewing the next steps with the Government of India,” a CPS spokesperson said.
The permission to appeal was denied on all other grounds, including leave to appeal against UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s extradition order, a legal avenue which is now closed.
The appeal against District Judge Sam Goozee’s February decision to send the case to the Home Secretary was granted leave to appeal in respect of two of the grounds – under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) to hear arguments if it would be “unjust or oppressive” to extradite him due to his mental state and Section 91 of the Extradition Act 2003, also related to mental ill health.
“I will not restrict the basis on which those grounds can be argued, though it seems to me that there should be a particular focus on whether the judge was wrong to reach the conclusion he did, given the evidence as to the severity of the appellant’s (Nirav Modi’s) depression, the high risk of suicide and the adequacy of any measures capable of preventing successful suicide attempts in Arthur Road prison,” Justice Chamberlain’s ruling noted.
If Modi wins that appeal hearing in the High Court, he cannot be extradited unless the Indian government is successful in getting permission to appeal at the Supreme Court on a point of law of public importance.
If he loses that appeal hearing, Modi can approach the Supreme Court on a point of law of public importance, to be applied to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s decision within 14 days of a High Court verdict.
However, this marks a high threshold as appeals to the Supreme Court can only be made if the High Court has certified that the case involves a point of law of general public importance.
Finally, after all avenues in the UK courts are exhausted, he could still seek a so-called Rule 39 injunction from the European Court of Human Rights. Therefore, the legal process for his extradition still has a long course ahead.