Mumbai: Authorities at the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai have kept barrack number 12 ready if fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi is extradited from the UK in connection with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, a home department official told news agency PTI today.
The prisons department last week shared information with the state Home department about the status of the Arthur Road prison and facilities that can be provided there, in case Nirav Modi is to be lodged in the barrack, he said. The Centre recently asked the state government about the same, he added.
Nirva Modi wanted in a Rs 13,000-crore PNB scam has been lodged at the Wandsworth prison in south-west London since his arrest on March 19. His bail pleas have been rejected thrice so far. He faces extradition to India as the “principal beneficiary” of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) as part of a conspiracy to defraud the PNB.
The Maharashtra government recently submitted a letter of assurance to the Centre about the facilities which it can provide in the prison, the home department official said.
It had last year furnished a similar letter of assurance to the Centre in connection with the extradition of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is in the UK and is wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to Rs. 9,000 crore.
If extradited, Nirav Modi will be kept in one of two rooms in barrack no 12 of the Arthur Road prison, the official said. As of now, three prisoners are lodged in one room while the other one is vacant, he said.
The official said if extradited, Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya will be lodged in the same room, having an area of 20 ft by 15 ft and equipped with three fans, six tube lights and two windows.
The prison department also assured that Nirav Modi will be kept in a cell where the number of other detainees is not more than three, the official said. “If lodged in the barrack, (Nirav) Modi is likely to get three square metre personal space, as per European norms, per person lodged in correction centres, and he will be provided with a cotton mat, pillow, bed-sheet and blanket,” he said.
He will be permitted out of his cell for exercise and recreation for a reasonable amount of time, which will not more than an hour a day, the official said. The prison department also assured that adequate light, ventilation and storage for personal belongings will be provided, the official said.
Nirav Modi will also get clean drinking water every day, round-the-clock medical facilities, and toilet and washing facilities, the official said. All such facilities will be provided without any discrimination, as per lodging policy. “As the barrack is highly secured and the policemen posted there are well-trained to handle any situation, there has not been not any incident there in the past of torture or ill-treatment,” he said.