London, September 6
Fugitive diamond service provider Nirav Modi, who has been lodged at a jail in London since his arrest in March final 12 months, is ready to look by way of videolink for the second leg of his extradition trial at a UK court docket on Monday.
The 49-year-old jeweller is preventing extradition expenses associated to the estimated USD 2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and cash laundering case introduced by the Indian authorities, being represented at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
In line with the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, District Judge Samuel Goozee has directed Modi’s look from a room in Wandsworth Prison in south-west London with social distancing norms in place for the part-remote setting for the five-day listening to scheduled to conclude on Friday.
Justice Goozee had presided over the primary leg of the extradition in May, throughout which the CPS sought to determine a prima facie case of fraud and cash laundering in opposition to Modi. The upcoming hearings are ear-marked to finish these arguments after the Indian authorities had submitted further “corroboratory evidence”.
It will then go on to take care of the extra extradition request, made by the Indian authorities and licensed by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier this 12 months, which add on the fees of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses or “criminal intimidation to cause death” in opposition to Modi.
Goozee has already stated that the totally different extradition requests are inextricably linked, and he would subsequently be handing down his judgment on the finish of listening to all of the arguments.
Additional hearings scheduled for November 3, for the choose to rule on the admissibility of the proof that can be introduced earlier than him, and December 1, when either side will make their last submissions, imply his ruling on whether or not Modi has a case to reply earlier than the Indian courts is predicted solely after the ultimate listening to in December.
The expenses in opposition to the diamond service provider centre round his corporations Diamonds R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds making fraudulent use of a credit score facility provided by PNB, often known as “letters of undertaking” (LoUs).
The CPS, showing on behalf of India, had informed the court docket that a variety of PNB workers conspired with Modi to make sure LoUs had been issued to his firms with out making certain they had been topic to the required credit score verify, with out recording the issuance of the LoUs and with out charging the required fee upon the transactions.
Modi’s crew has sought to counter allegations of fraud by deposing witnesses to determine the volatility of the gems commerce and that the LoUs had been customary apply.
Modi has made repeated makes an attempt at bail over the previous 12 months, every of which had been turned down as he’s deemed a flight danger. The jeweller was arrested on March 19, 2019, on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard.
At a case administration listening to forward of the trial final week, Modi’s barrister Clare Montgomery had informed the choose that she could also be in search of a partial reporting ban on the proceedings following allegations of “party political bias” in opposition to one among their skilled witnesses from India – retired Indian High Court choose Abhay Thipsay.
“We may have to put in an application for reporting restrictions around the reporting of his [Thipsay] evidence to avoid further public commentary on it,” she stated.
From the authorized paperwork submitted, jail situations in India will as soon as once more play a significant half on this extradition case, as up to now with different Indian extradition circumstances, with Modi’s extreme psychological well being situation being an element to be raised behind closed doorways. PTI