Barrack No 12 of Arthur Road jail may well be renamed as Billionaires’ Barrack if the Centre’s extradition attempts go to plan. The state prisons department has informed the Centre that, if extradited to the country, jeweller Nirav Modi will be lodged in Barrack 12 of Arthur Road jail in Mumbai, the same barrack where Vijay Mallya will be lodged in case the former liquor baron is also extradited to India.
The state provided the information about the proposed lodging plans for Nirav Modi after the government of India recently informed the state that extradition proceedings for Nirav Modi had advanced before the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in United Kingdom. The Centre had asked the state home department about the prison facilities in case Modi is lodged at Arthur Road jail. Following this, the Maharashtra Prison Department gave a letter of assurance on the facilities it can provide. The Government of Maharashtra had earlier furnished a similar letter of assurance to the central government in respect of extradition of Vijay Mallya.
A state home department official told Mirror, “On June 4, Ministry of Home Affairs had sought extradition of Nirav Modi from UK to face trial in India in a Central Bureau of Investigation and an Enforcement Directorate case. The government has learnt that extradition proceedings for surrender of Modi has advanced in the UK court.”
According to state government sources, the prison department in their letter of assurance issued on Monday, has stated that Modi will be held at Barrack No 12 of Arthur Road jail complex if extradited. The prison department has assured that Modi will be kept in a cell in which (either without other detainees or, alternatively, with sufficiently few detainees) he will get a minimum of 3 square metre of personal space (not including furniture) through the period of his prospective detention (pretrial and post conviction in case he is found guilty).
“The detention cell in which he is to be kept has provision of providing clean thick cotton mat, pillow, bedsheet and blanket. A metal frame/ wooden bed can be provided on medical grounds. Adequate light, ventilation and storage for permitted personal belongings is available. In detention, Modi will have access to clean drinking water supply each day and adequate medical facilities are available round-the-clock. Modi will have access to adequate toilet and washing facilities each day,” said an official.
Modi will also be permitted to leave his cell for exercise and recreation for a reasonable amount of time (more than one hour) each day.
Speaking about the security at Barrack No 12, an official said, “There is a high level of security at the entrance to Barrack No 12 and further with several CCTV cameras which are monitored 24/7 from the control room. A prison officer and a prison guard are on duty at this barrack 24/7. In Barrack no 12, inmates can exercise and socialise only in area provided within the barrack and are not exposed to any issues of the larger Arthur Road jail complex outside of the barrack. Thus, security is not an issue in Modi’s case.” He added that the Barrack No 12 has two rooms and three persons can be lodged in each room. “While one room is occupied with three persons already, in the other room we can accommodate Mallya, Modi and Mehul Choksi if they are extradited.”
Modi, Choksi and others are being investigated by the CBI and ED after a fraud came to light, following a complaint by the Punjab National Bank that they allegedly cheated the bank to the tune of approximately Rs 13,300 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.
Choksi was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda on January 15, 2018. On March 22, Choksi had moved an application before the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court, stating his long history of heart ailment and a blood clot in the brain as the reason for not being able to appear before it.