The 49-year-old fugitive diamond service provider is preventing extradition prices associated to the estimated $2-billion Punjab Nationwide Financial institution (PNB) fraud and cash laundering case introduced by the Indian authorities at Westminster Magistrates’ Court docket in London.
On the second day of Nirav’s five-day extradition listening to on the courtroom, Justice Samuel Goozee was taken by way of official Indian prisons knowledge, together with statistics on coronavirus instances at Arthur Street Jail in Mumbai the place Modi is to be held if he’s extradited.
Nirav’s barrister, Clare Montgomery, additionally laid out her plans to depose additional knowledgeable witnesses through the course of week, together with a former Supreme Court docket decide referred to solely by his final identify of Katju.
“There was a major decline within the integrity of the justice system in India… and the Nirav Modi case has been made a political situation, with no presumption fabricated from innocence,” Montgomery informed the courtroom.
She claimed that as a result of the jeweller had been made right into a “hate determine” in India, there was an “overwhelming political necessity” to sentence him and see him convicted.
She added that different defence witnesses additionally spotlight a decline within the “requirements of behaviour” of investigating businesses, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The courtroom was informed a couple of “marked decline” in Nirav’s psychological well being at Wandsworth Jail in south-west London, the place stricter coronavirus curbs have meant an absence of entry to inhouse counselling services and really restricted contact with household, with solely 25 minutes allowed exterior his cell in July.
“He has more and more suffered from extreme despair and the most recent evaluation reveals he’s on the edge of being topic to hospitalisation until given correct therapy… and his health to plead could also be unsure right here or within the requesting state (India) given a excessive threat of suicide,” Montgomery mentioned, including that the provision of psychiatric assist in Indian prisons was “totally insufficient”.
“The laconic assurance [of the government of India] and the jail video to say that he will probably be stored in humane situations seems to be fully insufficient when one bears in thoughts his psychiatric situation and as well as the looming menace of COVID,” she mentioned.
Nirav’s authorized crew additionally indicated plans to depose an knowledgeable in tropical medication in an try and counter authorities claims that the COVID-19 outbreak reported at Arthur Street Jail in Mumbai in Could had been introduced below management.
“What’s claimed is unbelievable and the administration of COVID-19 inside Arthur Street Jail doesn’t add up,” Montgomery informed the decide.
The defence arguments comply with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) opening the second a part of the extradition trial on Monday on behalf of the Indian authorities, which targeted on establishing a prima facie case of fraud and cash laundering in opposition to Modi.
CPS barrister Helen Malcolm took Justice Goozee by way of detailed witness statements by so-called “dummy administrators” together with Ashish Lad, who recorded a video again in June 2018 to say that his life had been threatened by Nirav.
She laid out particulars of how as the small print of the fraud had been starting to emerge, the jeweller began by hiding many of the proof, particularly the originals of “letters of enterprise” (LoUs) from PNB, after which went on to “threaten, intimidate, cajole and bribe officers”.
“He destroyed mobiles of dummy administrators and threatened one of many witnesses with dying,” Malcolm informed the courtroom.
Nirav, wearing a darkish swimsuit and white shirt, has been observing the courtroom proceedings remotely from a room in Wandsworth Jail and referring to bundles of paperwork laid out earlier than him infrequently.
He’s topic to 2 units of felony proceedings, the primary introduced by the CBI referring to a large-scale fraud mentioned to have been dedicated upon PNB and the ED case, referring to the laundering of the proceeds of that fraud.
An additional extradition request was made in February this 12 months, licensed by UK Residence Secretary Priti Patel, of two extra offences referring to allegations that Modi interfered with the CBI investigation by inflicting the disappearance of proof and intimidating a witness.
The CPS should set up a prima facie case in opposition to Nirav to permit the decide to rule that he has a case to reply earlier than the Indian courts. If the decide finds a prima facie case in opposition to him, it should return to Patel to formally certify his extradition to India to face trial.
A ruling within the case is anticipated on the finish of this 12 months after a remaining listening to scheduled for December 1.
Nirav has made repeated makes an attempt at bail over the previous 12 months, every of which had been turned down as he’s deemed a flight threat. The jeweller was arrested on March 19 final 12 months on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard.