UK court rejects plea to ban partial reporting in Nirav Modi case


Nirav Modi observed proceedings from a room in his Wandsworth prison cell in south-west London (File)

London:

A UK judge, who is presiding over Nirav Modi’s extradition case on allegations of an estimated USD 2 billion PNB fraud and money laundering brought by India, demanded a partial reporting ban at the start of a five-day trial here on Monday Having dismissed an application.

District Judge Samuel Goozy called the application “a high-profile case in India”, including members of the press present at Westminster Magistrate’s Court, emphasizing the importance of independent and impartial reporting of the proceedings, dismissing the application after hearing the representation.

Nirav Modi’s barrister Claire Montgomery applied for a partial ban in the context of a BJP press conference held in India in May on the evidence given by former Indian High Court judge Abhay Thoda during the first part of the extradition trial “. Inappropriate comment “. .

As a member of the Congress party, Thipsay was accused of “party political bias” in his expert legal opinion, which challenged the Indian government’s case.

Justice Gooji said, “After going to the transcript of the press conference, I am satisfied that it was given in a political context … There is no point of opinion about the politicians and these proceedings.” There was no evidence of sufficient exposure to the administration of justice that would require a ban on the media.

Modi’s legal team has sought written assurances from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), representing Indian officials in the extradition proceedings, that there will be no official comment on the other evidence given by Thipsay, determined via Vidalink on Wednesday.

Barrister Helen Malcolm agreed to address the request and went to settle the Indian government’s bullying case against Nirav Modi.

A video was played in court to highlight the coercive role of the diamond trader and made death threats against so-called “dummy directors” who were linked to companies owned by him.

Meanwhile, Nirav Modi observed the proceedings from a room in his Wandsworth prison cell in south-west London, often referring to documents and making notes in front of him.

The 49-year-old jeweler, who has been behind bars since his arrest in March last year, appeared via a video dressed in a dark suit and sport beard and mustache.

Representatives of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were in court and entered the remote court network to look into the current case.

This week’s hearing is slated to conclude a debate on the prima facie case against Modi after the Modi government presented prima facie additional “corroboratory evidence” in May.

This will be followed by additional extradition requests made by Indian additional officials, and earlier this year by the UK Home Secretary Preeti Patel, which combines allegations of “disappearance of evidence” and intimidation of witnesses or criminal intimidation. “Cause of death” against Modi

With coronovirus lockdown restrictions, Judge Gozzi directed Modi’s presence from prison, with socially distancing norms for the part-remote setting of the hearing.

He presided over the first phase of extradition in May, during which a prima facie case of fraud and money laundering was sought against Modi.

The judge has already stated that separate extradition requests have been inexorably linked, and he will therefore render his decision at the end of hearing all arguments.

Additional hearings to be held on November 3, to rule on the admissibility of evidence before the judge, and on December 1, when both parties make their final presentations, will mean whether Modi has a case to answer. Indian courts are expected only after the final hearing in December.

The allegations of fraudulent use of credit facility given by Punjab National Bank (PNB) against the Diamond Merchant Center surrounding his firm Diamonds R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds are known as “Letter of Undertaking” (LoUs) goes.

Has told the court that several PNB employees conspired with Modi to ensure that their companies were issued LoUs without issuing LoUs and taking necessary commissions on the transactions.

Nirav Modi’s team has sought to counter allegations of fraud by submitting witnesses to establish the instability of the gem trade and said LoUs were standard practice.

Modi has made repeated bail attempts over the past year, each of which is considered a flight risk.

The jeweler was arrested on 19 March last year by Scotland Yard on extradition warrant.

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