The 52-year-old former billionaire appeared for a hearing at Barkingside Magistrates Court in east London via video link from Tameside Prison in relation to a fine amounting to legal costs, or GBP 150,247.00, accrued over his unsuccessful extradition appeal proceedings at London High Court. court.
Dressed in pink prison uniform and sporting a moustache, the burly and bald Nirav addressed the three-member magistrate’s bench, revealing that he had complied with a previous court order to pay GBP 10,000 per month in fine Was.
When asked the reason behind his continued imprisonment, Nirav told the court, “I am in jail on remand and am not convicted. I am here because of the extradition request of the Government of India.”
When asked if he was aware of the deadline for the completion of extradition proceedings, he replied, “Unfortunately not”.
“To clarify, I was arrested in mid-March for extradition. There are some proceedings still going on that prevent my extradition to India… It is very likely that I will be in England for a long time, Three months, six months, maybe years,” he said, when the court considered the length of the stay.
Keeping in mind the uncertainty, the case related to unpaid fines was adjourned to February 8, 2024, when Nirav will again be expected to appear before him through video link from jail.
Meanwhile, the amount of the outstanding fine was confirmed as GBP 70,247, which the diamond merchant said he intends to continue paying to “reduce the balance” so as to “not be in contempt of court”. .
At a previous hearing listed at the same court in September, it was revealed that Nirav was being held in one of the UK’s largest and most overcrowded prisons, the privately run HMP Thameside in south-east London, outside HMP (His Majesty’s Prison) Wandsworth. Was transferred to. ,
News of the transfer comes days after a major manhunt was launched following the escape of a terror suspect from Wandsworth prison in south-west London. The escape raised serious questions over alleged staff shortages and overcrowding at Wandsworth, where Nirav was held after his arrest on an extradition warrant in March 2019.
Last year, Nirav had lost his legal battle in the UK Supreme Court against his extradition to India in the estimated US$2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam case. But his case is now said to be “barred by law”, indicating pending further litigation that could be linked to the confidential asylum application.
At the last procedural hearing in March this year, Barkingside Magistrates Court had accepted his plea to be allowed to pay GBP 10,000 per month using borrowed funds, as he had sought to have his assets in India seized. The reason was told to the court about his financial difficulties. This week’s hearing was scheduled as a review of that previous order.
In December last year, a two-judge bench at the Royal Courts of Justice in London had rejected Nirav’s application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on the grounds of suicide risk and the need to certify a point of law. His application was also rejected, resulting in his extradition. Appeal options in the UK courts.
Nirav was arrested on March 19, 2019, on an extradition warrant based on Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) charges against the businessman.
There are three sets of criminal proceedings against the diamond merchant in India – the CBI case over the fraud on PNB which caused a loss of over GBP 700 million, the ED case and the third set related to the alleged laundering of the proceeds of that fraud. Criminal proceedings involving alleged interference with evidence and witnesses in CBI proceedings.
Britain’s then Home Secretary Priti Patel had ordered Nirav’s extradition in April 2021 based on the decision of Westminster Magistrates Court of Judge Sam Goozie.
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