The evidence of “cheating” and “money laundering” are stronger in his case—something which fulfils the “dual criminality” clause required in such cases in the UK, said sources in agencies, who termed the arrest of the bank fraud-accused and fugitive diamantaire a “big success” and breakthrough.
The assessment is significant because extradition of fugitives tend to be a long drawn-out process.
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Both the CBI and the ED have already filed detailed chargesheets listing documentary evidence on forgery for issuing fake LoUs (letters of undertaking), email conversations, bank transfers and use of shell companies for laundering money to at least 15 countries, including the UK. These documents have already been provided to the UK authorities. In fact, money trail of around Rs 6,400 crore of the Rs 7,000 crore, allegedly siphoned off by Nirav from Punjab National Bank, has been established.
His properties in India worth Rs 1,873 crore have already been attached. The worth of overseas attachments has been estimated at Rs 970 crore.
Read also: From plastic surgery to citizenship of Vanuatu: Fugitive Nirav planned it all
Significantly, Nirav Modi won’t be able to delay the proceedings by arguing that charges against him are “politically motivated” and “conditions of Indian jails are inhuman”, as these two were rejected by the UK court while ordering Mallya’s extradition in December last year.
Modi’s barrister said in court on Wednesday that Nirav will argue that the case against him is politically motivated and the prison conditions in India will breach his human rights and that he will not get a fair trial in India.
Mallya had also taken the same plea after his arrest on April 18, 2017. His extradition trial took a longer time. He had a series of case management hearings before his trial commenced on December 4, 2017. The trial did not end until September 12, 2018 when the closing oral submissions were made. The judgment was finally handed down one year after the trial on December 10, 2018. On February 3 this year, UK home secretary Sajid Javid signed the order for Mallya’s extradition. On February 14, Mallya lodged his application for leave to appeal in the high court. No decision has been reached yet. The high court has indicated that it may take months.
India’s extradition request against Modi to the UK, sent on July 31 last year, is also backed with “evidence” of his illegal activities spread over different countries— Armenia, Belgium, China, France, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, UAE, US, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland— something which will boost the trial, officials said.
Describing the process of extradition, officers said there would be a case management hearing first, where UK’s Crown Prosecution Service will seek an early extradition hearing after which the judge will set a time-line for different hearings — including opening statement by the prosecution, submission of defence evidence, review of defence evidence, response from Indian authorities, skeleton arguments by defence counsel and the final extradition hearing date. They said the whole process shouldn’t take more than six months.
The CBI and ED had filed their chargesheets against Modi on May 14 and May 28 last year, respectively, while an Interpol Red Corner notice was issued against him on June 29.
Officials said additional evidence, including ED’s supplementary chargesheet and details of declaring him a fugitive economic offender according to the newly promulgated law, will also be shared with the UK very soon. A non-bailable warrant has also been issued against his wife Ami Modi, which will empower India’s extradition request against her to the US.
A joint team of the CBI and ED will also travel to London soon to brief the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which will argue on India’s behalf. The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had launched an independent investigation into the affairs of Nirav Modi last year, as first reported by TOI, details of which might also be shared during the extradition hearings.
Nirav Modi’s extradition case may move much faster than Vijay Mallya’s – Times of India