Nirav (51) appeared at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in east London on Thursday from HMP Wandsworth via video link and defended himself without a lawyer over the fact he had not paid the costs of £150,247 for an appeal against his extradition, which he lost. The costs order was made by the extradition proceedings judge on January 9, the court heard, and he was ordered to pay it within 28 days and had not done so. He had instead offered to pay £10,000 (Rs 9.7 lakh) a month and the fines team had rejected this, which is why he was hauled before the court. Nirav looked depressed.
Nirav was asked to confirm his name, date of birth and address and he gave an address in India. The court then asked for his UK address and he said he did not have one. Asked why he had not paid, Nirav said: “All my assets have been frozen and I am unable to fund my legal fees.”
The bench of magistrates asked him if he was likely to be in prison some time, to which he replied “Yes.”
He was asked why his assets were frozen and he replied: “Mostof my assets are in India where I have been living and working for the past 30 years, and my assets have been frozen for the past four years in India because of bogus allegations against me.” When asked where he would get the £10,000 per month, he said: “I am borrowing and have been for past two years. I have been in prison for four years — and after my first two years’ funds dried up so borrowing since then (sic).” The magistrates wanted to know why he was in prison and he replied: “Extradition charges.” The chair of the bench asked him why he did not return to India to prove his innocence if the allegations were bogus, to which he responded: “I won’t get a fair trial in India.” He was asked if he would be released from prison this year and he said he did not know. When being extradited to India was mentioned, he said “or not.”
The bench ruled Nirav can pay £10,000 (Rs 9.7 lakh) per month for six months and then a review hearing would be held. Nirav’s extradition was ordered after he lost his appeals against extradition in the UK, but he has not gone back yet. He is accused of carrying out the largest fraud on Punjab National Bank in the bank’s history.