London, August 27
The judgment within the extradition trial of fugitive diamond service provider Nirav Modi over the almost USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and cash laundering case will likely be handed down within the UK after December 1.
At a scheduled listening to at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Thursday, District Judge Samuel Goozee agreed the timetable for the second leg of Modi’s extradition trial scheduled between September 7 and 11.
The hearings subsequent month will full arguments on establishing a prima facie case in opposition to 49-year-old Modi and in addition take care of the extra extradition request, made by the Indian authorities and authorized by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier this yr, which add on the fees of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses or “criminal intimidation to cause death” in opposition to him.
Additional hearings have additionally been scheduled for November 3, for the choose to rule on the admissibility of proof offered earlier than him, and December 1, when either side will make their ultimate submissions.
Therefore, any judgment within the case is now anticipated solely after the ultimate listening to in December.
During the course of Thursday’s listening to, Modi’s legal professionals additionally raised issues over allegations of “party political bias” in opposition to one among their knowledgeable witnesses from India.
Modi’s barrister Clare Montgomery informed Justice Goozee that after Retired Justice Abhay Thipsay had given his witness assertion on the idea of “criminal breach of trust” in Indian legislation through the first leg of the extradition trial in May, he got here below assault and was accused of political bias.
“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,” mentioned Montgomery, indicating that the retired Indian excessive court docket choose will likely be among the many witnesses for the second leg of Modi’s trial scheduled to start from September 7.
Asked by Goozee for the rationale behind such an software, Modi’s barrister mentioned the “Indian ministry of justice” held a press convention “attacking” Thipsay for the evidence he had given in the UK court and accused him of “party political bias”.
During the listening to in May, Retd Justice Thipsay appeared by way of videolink from India as a authorized knowledgeable to again Modi’s defence group’s efforts to attempt to spotlight authorized flaws within the authorities of India’s case.
“Unless a person is deceived there can be no cheating under Indian law,” he mentioned on the time.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian authorities, had countered his witness assertion and later in India, Thipsay, a former choose of the excessive court docket in Mumbai and Allahabad, had been accused of appearing on the behest of the Congress social gathering.
The retired choose had countered the allegations, saying he was not showing in defence of Modi however as an knowledgeable witness to provide his authorized opinion, which the UK court docket might take into account or disregard.
The listening to in London on Thursday was scheduled as a case administration listening to to set the timetable for proof to be offered to compete Modi’s extradition trial.
Modi, who has been lodged at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since his arrest in March final yr, will stay remanded into custody till the beginning of the trial on September 7 – when he’ll seem by way of videolink.
The hearings subsequent month will once more be held partially distant settings, given the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
His defence group additionally made a reference to his “deteriorating” psychological well being in Wandsworth, one among England’s most overcrowded prisons, as amongst various “additional issues” it’s more likely to increase.
The prices 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 the Punjab National Bank (PNB), referred to as “letters of undertaking” (LoUs).
Modi’s group has sought to counter allegations of fraud by deposing witnesses to determine the volatility of the gems commerce and that the LoUs have been commonplace follow.
The CPS sought to determine that various PNB workers conspired with Modi to make sure LoUs have been issued to his corporations with out making certain they have been topic to the required credit score examine, with out recording the issuance of the LoUs and with out charging the required fee upon the transactions. This resulted in a fraud amounting to almost USD 2 billion. PTI