Nirav Modi has been accused of being the principal beneficiary of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking as part of a conspiracy to defraud the Punjab National Bank to the extent of Rs 13,570 crore. Since his arrest on March 19, 2019, he has been living his life in the Wandsworth Prison after being frequently denied bail. In December of 2019, a special PMLA court in Mumbai declared him as a ‘Fugitive Economic Offender’. The first set of hearings in the extradition case commenced in May 2020 which established a prima facie case against Modi.
He can still appeal before the crown court and then the supreme court there. However, as witnessed in the extradition case of former Kingfisher Airlines chief Vijay Mallya – who remains on bail in the UK while a “confidential” matter, believed to be an asylum request, is resolved, has lost in all the courts in UK to block his extradition but is yet to be extradited, in fact he is roaming freely. There is still some way to go before Modi can be formally moved from Wandsworth Prison in London to Mumbai and face trial in India. It now sits upon the table of Priti Patel, the Secretary of the State, to stamp his fate, Modi also has the right to appeal within 14 days, and the decision on extradition cannot be made until the appeal is disposed of.
Katju’s horrible attempt to block Justice
Former Supreme Court Justice and current meme icon due to his sarcastic and troll posts on Facebook Markandey Katju, the legal counsel of Nirav Modi argued in bad faith in the UK courts, he had said that India was in terrible economic collapse and the BJP were trying to solve the problem but they did not know how to, so they were trying to make a scapegoat out of Nirav Modi, and that he won’t get a fair trial in India.
Katju was reprimanded by the Westminster Court
Katju’s ‘astonishing’ and problematic statements were highlighted by Government of India. During the cross examination, the lawyer representing the Government of India, Ms. Helen Malcom Queen’s Counsel and Nicholas Heren, highlighted some public comments made by Justice Katju. Katju’s comments such as “50% of judges are corrupt”, “gay relationships are humbug and non-sense”, “90% Indians are fools”, “women who remain single are prone to psychological problems”, were brought up by the India Government’s lawyers. The Court also observed that Justice Katju made certain “astonishing, inappropriate and grossly insensitive” comparisons.
Ordering the extradition of Nirav Modi on Thursday, the District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court Sam Gooze not only defenestrated Katju’s evidence but also made sharp observations against him – “I attach little weight to Justice Katju’s expert opinion. Despite having been a former Supreme Court judge in India until his retirement in 2011 his evidence was in my assessment less than objective and reliable. His evidence in Court appeared tinged with resentment towards former senior judicial colleagues. It had hallmarks of an outspoken critic with his own personal agenda.”
“He made bold assertions about corruption across the judiciary in India (including former Chief Justices) and that the Supreme Court had surrendered itself to the executive. Of note, despite being critical of a former Chief Justice passing a verdict in a Supreme Court case in exchange for a nomination to the Upper House of Parliament in India on his retirement on a quid pro quo basis, suggesting collusion and corruption, Justice Katju himself secured appointment by the Government to Chairman of the Press Council of India following his own retirement,” the Judge observed. Katju himself was a beneficiary of Government secured position and it was hypocritical of him to accuse former CJI Gogoi of collusion as it would be nothing more than projection.
The court further said – “Despite being highly critical of the ‘trial by media’ and its impact on Nirav Modi’s case, he (Katju) took the astonishing decision to brief journalists in relation to the evidence he was giving in these proceedings, creating his own media storm and adding to the heightened media interest to date.”
The Judge further said that he found Katju’s “evidence and behavior in engaging the media the day before giving evidence to be questionable for someone who served the Indian Judiciary at such a high level appointed to guard and protect the rule of law.
No evidence to say judiciary in India no longer independent. The Court observed that there was no cogent and reliable evidence that the Indian Judiciary was no longer independent, or capable of managing a fair trial even in a high-profile case with media interest.
Judge Gooze said in judgement– “Despite making commentary about the fairness of any trial process in India, he(Katju) accepted on a number of occasions in cross-examination that he had not considered the evidence and it is evident from his report he certainly had not considered the full requests from the Government of India”.
This comes as a reality check to the delusional skeptics and “intellectuals” who are opposed to the mythical “fascist restructuring of Indian Judiciary” and the alleged “Bhagwafication”(Saffronization) of Justice which has been compared to Kangaroo Courts and Nazi Germany, milked to the bone each time their side fails to provide evidence of their meaningless claims, be it the Ayodhya Verdict or restoring 370 petitions, even the case of Contempt against Prashant Bhushan where despite losing the skeptics claimed moral victory.
Dismissing every setback as failure of system (“Bhagwa Courts, Godi Media, IT Cell”) being biased against them and people being in the spectrum of illiterate and brainwashed into “Bhakt” culture has been what the opposition with all its thinktanks and Lutyens bubble can come up with, that combined with lack of introspection to a fault, unacknowledging its faults nails the coffin of the opposition’s ambition to overthrow the Modi Government.
By Shivam Chatterjee