Fugitive diamond service provider Nirav Modi, who has been lodged at a jail in London since his arrest in March final yr, is ready to seem by way of videolink for the second leg of his extradition trial at a UK court on Monday.
The 49-year-old jeweller is combating 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 set up a prima facie case of fraud and cash laundering in opposition to Modi. The upcoming hearings are ear-marked to full these arguments after the Indian authorities had submitted extra “corroboratory evidence”.
It will then go on to cope with the extra extradition request, made by the Indian authorities and authorized by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier this yr, which add on the costs of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses or “criminal intimidation to cause death” in opposition to Modi.
Goozee has already mentioned that the completely different extradition requests are inextricably linked, and he would due to this fact be handing down his judgment on the finish of listening to all of the arguments.
Additional hearings scheduled for November 3, for the decide to rule on the admissibility of the proof that can be introduced earlier than him, and December 1, when each side will make their closing 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 companies Diamonds R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds making fraudulent use of a credit score facility provided by PNB, referred to as “letters of undertaking” (LoUs).
The CPS, showing on behalf of India, had advised the court that quite a lot of PNB workers conspired with Modi to guarantee LoUs had been issued to his corporations 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 staff has sought to counter allegations of fraud by deposing witnesses to set up the volatility of the gems commerce and that the LoUs had been commonplace apply.
Modi has made repeated makes an attempt at bail over the previous yr, 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 advised the decide that she could also be looking for a partial reporting ban on the proceedings following allegations of “party political bias” in opposition to one among their professional witnesses from India – retired Indian High Court decide 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 mentioned.
From the authorized paperwork submitted, jail situations in India will as soon as once more play a serious half in this extradition case, as in the previous with different Indian extradition instances, with Modi’s extreme psychological well being situation being an element to be raised behind closed doorways.