Nirav Modi’s UK jail remand extended again
The Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday further extended the prison remand of diamantaire Nirav Modi, who is facing a trial for extradition to India to face charges of major financial offences linked to a Mumbai branch of the Punjab National Bank (PNB).
The remand needs to be extended every 28 days, which means he will remain in the Wandsworth jail in west London at least until December 29, when it is likely to be extended again.
Concluding statements in the ongoing extradition trial are due to be made on January 7 and 8 by the Crown Prosecution Service on India’s behalf and by Modi’s lead lawyer, Claire Montgomery.
At the last hearing on November 3, citing the December 2018 judgment on the extradition of businessman Vijay Mallya, the court had rejected objections by Modi’s defence team on admitting evidence submitted by the Indian government in the latter’s extradition case.
District judge Samuel Goozee said he was bound by the Mallya judgment delivered by chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, who also dealt with the issue of admissibility of India’s evidence and decided to accept them. He said he would adopt the “approach taken in Mallya”.
Statements of several witnesses to Modi’s alleged fraud are part of India’s documentation in the case, including individuals who alleged that they were threatened at the behest of Modi.
Modi is the subject of two extradition requests; one processed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the other by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Charges against Modi involve the PNB’s Mumbai branch that extended his companies loans worth over Rs 11,300 crore. The CBI case relates to large-scale fraud upon PNB, through the fraudulent obtaining of Letters of Understanding (LOUs/ loan agreements); the ED case relates to the laundering of the proceeds of that fraud.
The second extradition request was made on the basis of two additional offences as part of the CBI case, relating to allegations that Modi interfered with the CBI investigation by “causing disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses (“criminal intimidation to cause death”).
The magistrates court had cleared Mallya’s extradition in December 2018. His appeals in the high court were also turned down, but the extradition currently awaits resolution of a legal process, widely believed to be an application for asylum.
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