Updated: May 14, 2020 6:31:19 pm
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Thursday accused the Congress of “trying its best” to save fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi who is undergoing an extradition trial in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
The minister alleged that a Congress member, who also happens to be an ex-high court judge, appeared as defence witness in extradition proceedings against Nirav Modi.
“There exist some overpowering suspicious circumstances to suggest that Congress is trying its best to save Nirav Modi,” PTI quoted the minister as saying.
“An ex-judge is working at Congress’ behest to influence judicial process in UK, our probe agency will counter it effectively,” he added.
While Prasad did not identify the judge, his BJP colleague Sambit Patra alleged that former Bombay High Court judge Abhay Thipsay has been posing as a witness in Modi’s case.
यहाँ भारत में राहुल गाँधी नीरव मोदी को ले,सरकार से सवाल पूछते है ..
दूसरी तरफ़ राहुल के ख़ास एवं Congress के Abhay Tipsay (पूर्व judge) नीरव मोदी के पक्ष में गवाह बनते है
आख़िर ऐसा क्या है जो राहुल नहीं चाहते नीरव भारत आए?
उस रात पार्टी में राहुल और नीरव में क्या लेन देन हुई थी? pic.twitter.com/jrHDeDP6B2
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) May 14, 2020
Tagging a picture of Thipsay with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Patra said, “Here in India Rahul Gandhi questions the central government over Nirav Modi. On the other hand, Rahul’s close aide and Congress leader Abhay Thipsay (former judge) becomes a witness in favour of Nirav Modi. What is it that Rahul does not want Nirav to return India? What transaction took place between Rahul and Nirav at that party?”
India’s is seeking Modi’s extradition for his alleged role in siphoning off Rs 13,500 crore from the PNB coffers through fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking and letters of credit, along with his uncle Mehul Choksi. Investigations by CBI and ED have found that Modi diverted a large part of these funds to family members and for personal purposes.
The five-day hearing began against Modi on May 11, following the Indian government’s extradition request certified by the UK government last year. The 49-year-old has been lodged at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since his arrest last year.
Meanwhile, the ED has already attached properties worth over Rs 1873 crore belonging to Modi while assets worth Rs 489.75 crore have been seized. The attachments include assets worth Rs 961.49 crore located in Hong Kong, Switzerland, UK, USA, Singapore and UAE.
CBI submits video of Nirav Modi’s threats to ‘dummy directors’
Meanwhile, the CBI submitted a video before the UK court in which “dummy directors” associated with companies linked to Modi alleged they were threatened with life.
A group of six Indian men can be heard in the video with each of them making allegations of being forced to leave Dubai and come to Cairo, Egypt, where their passports were confiscated and were allegedly made to sign dubious documents against their will by Modi’s brother, Nehal Modi.
“My name is Ashish Kumar Mohanbhai Lad, I am the namesake owner of Sunshine Gems Limited, Hong Kong, and Unity Trading Fze, Dubai,” says one of the men on the recording from June 2018.
“Nirav Modi phoned me and told me that he would implicate me for theft. He used the worst expletives and told me that he would get me killed… he did so much to us,” he says in Hindi.
These witnesses relate to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) discovery that dummy directors/owners/managers were appointed in a number of shell companies in Hong Kong and Dubai, which however remained under the direct control of Modi.
According to Indian goverment’s case, a number of PNB staff conspired with Modi to ensure LoUs were issued to these companies without ensuring they were subject to the required credit check, without recording the issuance of the LoUs and without charging the required commission upon the transactions. This resulted in a fraud amounting to nearly $2 billion.
with PTI inputs
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.