Nirav Modi set for remote extradition trial from May 11 in UK court

By: PTI | London |

Published: April 28, 2020 10:47:00 pm

Two extra expenses of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses or prison intimidation to trigger dying had been added on by the CBI and authorized earlier this 12 months. (File)
Fugitive diamond service provider Nirav Modi, combating extradition to India on expenses over the almost USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and cash laundering case, was on Tuesday remanded in custody till May 11, when his five-day trial will happen in a part-remote setting.

The 49-year-old, who has been lodged at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since his arrest final 12 months, appeared earlier than a UK court by way of videolink. He spoke solely to substantiate his identify and date of beginning throughout the listening to, which befell at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London by way of tele-conference because of the COVID-19 associated social distancing procedures in place throughout UK courts.

District Judge Samuel Goozee, who presided over the case administration listening to, expressed some reservations concerning the extradition listening to going forward subsequent month as scheduled underneath the present lockdown. But it was agreed between all events {that a} trial run of the court’s CVP, or widespread viewing platform, will happen throughout a lawyers-only listening to on May 7 forward of the ultimate listening to.

“Some prisons are producing prisoners in particular person, so I’ll direct Wandsworth Prison to supply Mr Modi in particular person for the trial from May 11. If that’s not practicable, his participation by dwell hyperlink stays a backstop, Judge Goozee concluded.

It was agreed {that a} restricted variety of authorized representatives will probably be current bodily in court for the trial as witnesses give their proof by way of videolink. Modi will be capable to observe the proceedings both from the dock, if the jail authorities conform to a bodily switch, or by way of the judiciary’s widespread viewing system from Wandsworth Prison.

The five-day listening to from May 11 pertains to the Indian authorities’s extradition request licensed by the UK authorities final 12 months. The case has been filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and pertains to a large-scale fraud upon an Indian PSU via the fraudulent acquiring of letters of understanding (LoUs) and the laundering of the proceeds of that fraud.

Two extra expenses of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses or prison intimidation to trigger dying had been added on by the CBI and authorized earlier this 12 months.

The May 11 extradition listening to goes forward and the brand new request (two extra offences a part of the CBI case) has not been joined however will probably be handled at a separate later listening to, in all probability in July, stated the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), showing on behalf of the Indian authorities.

CPS barrister Nick Hearn indicated that the federal government of India’s representatives could be following the proceedings and giving directions by way of the court’s on-line widespread viewing platform, given the coronavirus associated journey restrictions.

We have obtained complete responses in writing from the federal government of India, which would cut back the possible size of cross-examinations, stated Hearn.

It was additionally confirmed that the diamond service provider wouldn’t be giving proof in the case, however his authorized staff plans to supply round six witnesses, together with a jewelry skilled in addition to judicial and prisons consultants.

We are very anxious to carry the listening to if we will, if Mr Modi’s participation and that of the witnesses appears possible, stated Modi’s barrister Clare Montgomery, throughout the tele-conference listening to on Tuesday.

Judge Goozee has set May four because the deadline for the skeleton arguments, draft expenses and any additional proof to be offered in the case. In reference to the wealth of documentary proof relied on in the case?, he has sought an agreed pre-trial studying checklist by the tip of this week.

Most of the authorized circumstances in the UK have integrated videolink and telephonic choices the place potential, with all new jury trials suspended amid the social distancing guidelines in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Modi, whose Wandsworth jail is taken into account some of the over-crowded in England, had made a fifth try at bail in the High Court final month, which was rejected because the choose dominated that he continued to pose a flight danger.

He was arrested on March 19, 2019, on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard on expenses of fraud and cash laundering introduced by the Indian authorities

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