NIRAV MODI, the fugitive diamond merchant wanted in India to stand trial on fraud and money laundering charges, has been transferred out of one of the largest and most overcrowded prisons in the UK to a privately-run facility in London, it emerged last Thursday (21).
The 52-year-old former billionaire was due to appear at a magistrates’ court hearing in relation legal costs, or fines, amounting to £150,247 ordered by the High Court in London related to his failed extradition appeal proceedings. However, the case had to be adjourned at the last moment to November as Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in east London was unable to track down the jeweller in time for his videolink appearance.
“He was moved to HMP (His Majesty’s Prison) Thameside from HMP Wandsworth as an internal transfer, which the court was unaware of until today,” a court official said. HMP Thameside is described as London’s only private prison, which can hold around 1,232 convicted and onremand male prisoners. As a relatively new-build prison, it was completed in March 2012 and is run by the firm Serco.
Last year, the fugitive businessman had lost his legal battle in the highest UK court against being extradited to India in an estimated $2 billion (£1.64bn) Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam case. But his case is now said to be “statute barred”, indicating further pending litigation.
In December last year, a twojudge bench in the Royal Courts of Justice in London refused the jeweller’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, which concluded his extradition appeal options in the UK courts.
This case may be subject to further litigation, Home Office sources said, which is likely to indicate a parallel confidential political asylum appeals process.
Modi was arrested in March 2019 on an extradition warrant based on Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) charges.