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Barrack Number 12 at Arthur Road jail kept ready for Nirav Modi

By Anuj Cariappa
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Mumbai, June 12: Authorities at the Arthur Road jail here have kept 'barrack no. 12' ready if fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi is extradited from the UK in connection with the $2 billion PNB fraud and money laundering case, a home department official said on Tuesday.

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 is to be lodged in the barrack, he said.

File photo of Nirav Modi

The Centre recently asked the state government about the same, he said.

Nirav Modi was arrested by Scotland Yard officers in London on March 19 and 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 Punjab National Bank (PNB) and then laundering the money.

UK's Westminster Magistrate's Court last month denied bail to Nirav, who has been behind bars at one of England's most overcrowded prisons, Her Majesty's Prison Wandsworth.

The state government recently submitted a letter of assurance to the Centre about the facilities which it can provide in the prison, he 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 the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.

Here is analysis of Punjab National Bank's wilful defaulter list

As per the letter, if extradited, Nirav 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, adding that if extradited, Nirav and 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 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 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 will also get clean drinking water every day, round-the-clock medical facilities, and toilet and washing facilities, he said.

All such facilities will be provided without any discrimination, as per lodging policy in vogue.

"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.

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