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'Long fight that we have won': CBI on Nirav Modi's extradition

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'Long fight that we have won': CBI on Nirav Modi's extradition

New Delhi, Nov 9 (Ajit Weekly News) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday hailed the verdict of UK High Court that allowed extradition of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi to India, terming it “a significant achievement” in its efforts to curb corruption.

Nirav Modi, who allegedly cheated Punjab National Bank (PNB) of over Rs 11,000 crore, is likely to be extradited soon to India from the UK as he lost his appeal in the High Court.

Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay, who heard the appeal earlier this year, delivered the verdict that allowed the fugitive businessman’s extradition to India, according to reports.

Nirav Modi had appealed against his extradition where he would face trial in the fraud case linked to the PNB.

“Today’s judgement of UK High Court is a significant achievement in the context of CBI’s efforts to curb corruption and is a reminder that fugitives, who have eluded the process of law after commission of large value frauds, cannot consider themselves above the process merely because they have changed jurisdictions.

“The CBI took painstaking efforts in effectively presenting the facts before the Court, especially since Modi had raised various issues with regard to prison conditions, availability of health facilities in India etc.,” the CBI said in a statement.

On April 15, 2021, the Secretary of State ordered the businessman’s extradition to India.

He had filed application before the High Court of Justice, London seeking permission to appeal on multiple grounds.

On August 9, 2021, the High Court of Justice, London gave Modi the permission to appeal on the following two grounds:

1. His extradition would be incompatible with his convention rights under Article 3 of European Convention on Human Rights, and

2. It would be unjust or oppressive within the meaning of Section 91 of UK Extradition Act 2003 to extradite him by virtue of his physical and mental condition.

Now, all other grounds of appeal have been rejected.

During the final hearing, two psychiatric experts — Andrew Forrester of Cardiff University, on behalf of the appellant, and Seena Fazel of University of Oxford, on behalf of the Government of India also gave evidence before the High Court.

Nirav Modi was arrested on March 19, 2019 in the UK on the basis of extradition request of the Indian government to face trial in the multi-crore bank fraud case.

After his arrest, he filed several bail petitions which were strongly opposed and all the bail petitions were rejected by the courts in the UK.

The CBI had registered the case on January 31, 2018 against the partner of three private firms and others including then officials of PNB on a complaint from the lender on the allegations that the accused had hatched a criminal conspiracy among themselves to defraud the Bank to the tune of Rs 6,498 crore by fraudulently issuing Letters of Undertaking.

During investigation, the CBI conducted searches at 42 premises and arrested 15 people. A large number of witnesses were examined and voluminous documents were collected.

Investigation revealed that the accused officials of the PNB, in conspiracy with said owners of the firms and others, had fraudulently issued a large number of LoUs to overseas banks for obtaining buyer’s credit in favour of said three firms without any sanctioned limit or cash margin and without making entries in the CBS system of the bank.

Besides, the probe had also revealed that the fraud was allegedly perpetrated despite the circulars issued by RBI.

The first chargesheet was filed on May 14, 2018 against 25 accused including Nirav Modi.

The second chargesheet was filed on December 20, 2019 against 30 accused including 25 chargesheeted earlier.

“Nirav Modi in conspiracy with other accused had siphoned off the funds obtained as buyer’s credit through dummy companies established by him in Dubai and Hong Kong which were shown as exporter of Pearls to three Modi firms and importer of Pearl studded jewellery from the said firms of Modi. He escaped from India on January 1, 2018 before registration of case,” the CBI said.

Non bailable arrest warrant was issued by the trial court against Nirav Modi on May 23, 2018 and red notice was also issued against him on June 29, 2918 by Interpol.

The first extradition request was sent by CBI to United Kingdom for extradition of Modi in August 2018 for defrauding the PNB.

In extradition requests, the CBI had submitted voluminous oral and documentary evidence to substantiate the charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust, criminal misconduct by public servants, destruction of evidence and criminal intimidation of evidence.

“The CBI gracefully acknowledges the painstaking and continuous efforts made by the counsels of Crown Prosecution service in forcefully presenting the government of India’s case and also the efforts of various government agencies, especially officers of High Commission of India, London, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, in coordinating the extradition trial, timely submission of evidences and assurances, and prompt follow up of the case at all stages,” the CBI said.

–Ajit Weekly News


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