‘Personal agenda’: UK court on Markandey Katju’s testimony in Nirav Modi trial
In his testimony, Katju had said in the court that India was in terrible economic collapse and the (ruling) BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) were trying to solve the problem but they did not know how to, so they found scapegoats and Nirav Modi is a scapegoat for causing financial crisis in India.
Ordering the extradition of Nirav Modi on Thursday, the District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court Sam Goozee said that the testimony of former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju was not reliable and had “hallmarks of an outspoken critic with his own personal agenda”.
Katju had last year appeared in the Westminster court as an expert defending Nirav Modi saying he won’t receive fair trial in India.
In his judgement, reviewed by HT, Jude Sam Goozee said – “I attach little weight to Justice Katju’s expert opinion. Despite having been a former Supreme Court judge in India until his retirement in 2011 his evidence was in my assessment less than objective and reliable. His evidence in Court appeared tinged with resentment towards former senior judicial colleagues. It had hallmarks of an outspoken critic with his own personal agenda.”
The Judge further said that he found Katju’s “evidence and behaviour in engaging the media the day before giving evidence to be questionable for someone who served the Indian Judiciary at such a high level appointed to guard and protect the rule of law.”
In his testimony, Katju had said in the court that India was in terrible economic collapse and the (ruling) BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) were trying to solve the problem but they did not know how to, so they found scapegoats and Nirav Modi is a scapegoat for causing financial crisis in India. Katju had also said during his testimony that the Indian Supreme Court had become subservient to the Indian government.
Rejecting his contention, Judge Sam Goozee said in judgement– “Despite making commentary about the fairness of any trial process in India, he accepted on a number of occasions in cross-examination that he had not considered the evidence and it is evident from his report he certainly had not considered the full requests from the Government of India”.
“He made bold assertions about corruption across the judiciary in India (including former Chief Justices) and that the Supreme Court had surrendered itself to the executive. Of note, despite being critical of a former Chief Justice passing a verdict in a Supreme Court case in exchange for a nomination to the Upper House of Parliament in India on his retirement on a quid pro quo basis, suggesting collusion and corruption, Justice Katju himself secured appointment by the Government to Chairman of the Press Council of India following his own retirement,” the Judge observed.
The court further said - “Despite being highly critical of the ‘trial by media’ and its impact on Nirav Modi’s case, he (Katju) took the astonishing decision to brief journalists in relation to the evidence he was giving in these proceedings, creating his own media storm and adding to the heightened media interest to date.”