Nirav Modi Extradition: "No Evidence That If Extradited, Nirav Modi Won't Get Justice": UK Judge
A UK court today said that it was satisfied there is evidence that jeweller Nirav Modi, wanted for fraud and money laundering in the ₹ 14,000-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, could be convicted.
District Judge Samuel Goozee at the Westminster Magistrates' Court said there were clearly links between Nirav Modi and other connivers including officials of the bank.
"Mr Modi personally subsequently wrote to PNB acknowledging the debt and promising to repay. The CBI is investigating that Nirav Modi firms were dummy partners," the judge noted. These companies were shadow companies operated by Nirav Modi, he said.
"I do not accept that Nirav Modi was involved in legitimate business. I find no genuine transactions and believe there is a process of dishonesty."
The manner in which Letters of Undertaking were obtained, "the combination as a whole, takes us to the conclusion that Nirav Modi and co were fraudulently operating", the judge said.
"Many of these are a matter for trial in India. I am satisfied again that there is evidence he could be convicted. Prima facie there is a case of money laundering."
Nirav Modi, 49, is appearing via video conferencing from Wandsworth Prison in south-west London at Westminster Magistrates' Court.
The Judge said they have received 16 volumes of evidence from India and that "I accept submissions made by the government of India."
The magistrates' court ruling will then be sent back to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for a sign-off, with the possibility of appeals in the High Court on either side depending on the outcome.
Nirav Modi was arrested on an extradition warrant on March 19, 2019, and has appeared via video conferencing from Wandsworth Prison for a series of court hearings in the extradition case. His multiple attempts at seeking bail have been repeatedly turned down, both at the Magistrates' and High Court level, as he was deemed a flight risk.
Nirav Modi is the subject of two sets of criminal proceedings, with the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI case relating to a large-scale fraud upon PNB through by obtaining illegal letters of undertaking (LoUs) or loan agreements, and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case relating to the laundering of the proceeds of that fraud. He also faces two additional charges of evidence tampering and intimidating witnesses, which were added to the CBI case.