It is the auspicious occasion of Holi in India and everyone is celebrating the festival the colour of festivals with joy and having a good time. The same cannot, however, be said for fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi who was arrested in London on Tuesday.
Modi, wanted in India on fraud and money laundering charges amounting to USD 2 billion, spent the Holi behind bars in one of England's most overcrowded jails on Thursday,Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Wandsworth in south-west London, a day after a UK judge rejected his bail application.
Modi maybe hoping to be put in a separate jail cell, however the overcrowding pressures of the jail may lead him to share his prison cell with any of its around 1,430 male prisoners. A very gloomy prospect for a man who unitl some years back lived a king-size life in India before he fleed the country.
Some of Modi's inmates may have substance abuse issues while others maybe suffering from mental health problems. During the most recent inspection carried out in February-March 2018, the Victorian-era jail was found by UK Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke to be "one of the most overcrowded in England and Wales"
"Despite six self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection, it was concerning to find that not all staff were carrying anti-ligature knives, that no staff would enter a cell alone – even if a prisoner's life was in danger – and that the response to cell call bells was totally inadequate," he noted.
Althoutgh the jail's cells are designed only for one person, often two inmates end-up sharing the same space. Modi, one of India's richest men accustomed to the high-life and celebrity circles around the world, will be faced with some harsh conditions at the prison amid some dubious inmates.
With poorly-screened lavatories and inmates being allowed “far too little” time out of their cells, according to the conclusions of the inspection report, the living conditions for Modi will certainly be in stark contrast to the luxury apartment at Centre Point in the West End of London where he had been living over the past year, as per court proceedings.
Interestingly, during his time in London, Modi had acquired a National Insurance No. – offered only to legal residents to be able to live and work in the UK, according to court proceedings.
Although he is wanted in India for fraud, the diamond merchant had reportedly also been paying his Council Tax. The irnoy is not lost on his countrymen back home who are praying for his extradition to India.
(with PTI inputs)