The UK court has extended the custody of notorious diamond dealer Nirav Modi as it seeks to ensure that he will be held in acceptable prison conditions before it rules on the extradition of the fugitive billionaire back to India.
“There is no reason why it [Indias jail plans for Nirav] should not be answered within 14 days,” Judge Emma Arbuthnot said, adding that Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai would be the “obvious candidate.”
Last year, Arbuthnot issued a similar request to Indian authorities before approving the extradition request of another fugitive – liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, who had complained of inhumane prison conditions back home. In his case, India provided a video of the exact cell in which the former member of the Upper House of the Parliament was to be held. Mallya, who left India in March 2016 with debts of more than $1 billion, continues to fight the extradition order. The next hearing to decide his fate will be held on July 31.
Modi and Mallya might soon become prison mates if the judge Arbuthnot approves billionaire jeweler's extradition on July 29. For now, she has extended Modi's custody until June 27. Modi, who fled India last year and was only detained in London in March, is wanted over an alleged scam against Punjab National Bank (PNB), in which the diamond billionaire used fraudulent paperwork to obtain buyers credit for £2bn ($2.6bn).
If extradited, both men are in for a royal treatment at Mumbai's largest and oldest prison built in 1926. To house celebrity inmates and other high-profile prisoners, Arthur Road Jail has constructed a special cell block, consisting of individual 15×10 feet units. The cells have long French windows closer to the ceiling to ensure plenty of daylight and fresh air. They also come with other luxuries previously unheard of.
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