Justice Katju opposes India’s extradition plea against Nirav Modi; deposes in favour of fugitive in UK court

Former SC judge Markandey Katju opposed Indian government’s extradition plea against the fugitive economic offender Nirav Modi and deposed in his favour, raising questions on the Indian judicial system.

London: Former Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju, who is known to ruffle quite a few feathers on social with his unabashed views on many sensitive matters, is back in the limelight with his deposition in favour of Nirav Modi in a UK court opposing India’s plea for the extradition of the fugitive.

Justice Katju was cross-examined by the Crown Prosecution service via videoconferencing. The whole process of deposition and cross-examination took one hour, as per a report by ET. During the cross-examination, Justice Katju was grilled by the UK prosecutor over the alleged controversies that he’s been embroiled in. He also denied being affiliated to any political party.

Katju reportedly told the UK court that Nirav Modi won’t get a fair trial in India and even gave a written statement against the Indian government’s plea to extradite Modi. In his written statement, Katju alleged that Modi will be made “scapegoat” in India where there is “indeed direct and indirect political/government interference in the Indian judiciary and in CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and ED (Enforcement Directorate)”.

The statement added that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has only 15 convictions in its entire history and that the investigative agency acts on political cues.

“The highest echelons of the Indian judiciary have now come under significant political and executive influence. Under the political influence, crucial matters of public importance were being allotted to handpicked benches of judges favourable to the ruling party and the powers that be. This had never happened before in the judicial history of India,” the statement added.

The judiciary is doing the government’s bidding and is not acting as an “independent organ of the state protecting the rights of the people,” the statement said.

The 49-year-old fugitive diamond merchant is fighting extradition charges related to the estimated $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case brought by the Indian government at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.

His defence team last week similarly told the UK court that the businessman is unlikely to get a fair trail in India and faces risk of suicide owing to lack of adequate medical facilities in Indian prisons. On September 8, which was the second day of the five-day extradition hearing at the court, Justice Samuel Goozee was given an account of the official Indian prisons’ data, including statistics on coronavirus cases at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai where Modi is to be held if he is extradited.

It was on September 8 when Modi’s barrister Clare Montgomery laid out her plans to depose further expert witnesses during the course of week, including a former Indian Supreme Court judge referred to only by his last name of Katju.

Source: Times Now


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