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Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi’s application to examine witnesses in PNB fraud case rejected

Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi’s lawyers had sought to cross-examine 19 witnesses whose statements were recorded by the Enforcement Direcorate on allegations of money laundering.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2019 10:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
nirav modi,mehul choksi,PNB fraud case
In their plea, Mehul Choksi (in photo) and Nirav Modi had claimed that ED has conducted a one-sided investigation in the PNB fraud case. (HT File )

A special court on Thursday dismissed applications filed by diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi for cross-examination of witnesses in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.

With the dismissal of the plea, the court would now begin hearing the main plea filed by the enforcement directorate (ED) to declare Nirav and Choksi Fugitive Economic Offenders under the new law – Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act.

In the two similar applications filed by Nirav and Choksi’s lawyers, they had sought to cross-examine 19 witnesses whose statements were recorded by the central agency on allegations of money laundering. This list of witnesses also includes officers of the agency who were part of the probe.

In their plea, the two had claimed that ED has conducted a one-sided investigation. They claimed that the agency did not consider relevant documents or examine the relevant persons before moving the court to declare both of them as fugitives under the new law.

The lawyers had contended that even though the status does not provide for any such procedure for cross-examination of witnesses, it should be allowed on the basis of the principle of natural justice. The central agency had objected on the ground that there is no need for examination of witnesses to hear the main application for a declaration.

On Thursday, the court rejected the contention of defence holding that there is no procedure for cross-examination of witnesses at this stage.

First Published: Feb 01, 2019 10:37 IST