Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who has been lodged at a prison in London since his arrest in March last year, is set to appear via videolink for the second leg of his extradition trial at a UK court on Monday.
The 49-year-old jeweler is fighting extradition charges related to the estimated USD 2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case brought by the Indian government, being represented at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
In line with the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, District Judge Samuel Goozee has directed Modi’s appearance from a room in Wandsworth Prison in south-west London with social distancing norms in place for the part-remote setting for the five-day hearing scheduled to conclude on Friday.
Justice Goozee had presided over the first leg of the extradition in May, during which the CPS sought to establish a prima facie case of fraud and money laundering against Modi. The upcoming hearings are ear-marked to complete those arguments after the Indian government had submitted additional ‘corroboratory evidence’.
It will then go on to deal with the additional extradition request, made by the Indian authorities and certified by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier this year, which add on the charges of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses or ‘criminal intimidation to cause death’ against Modi.
Goozee has already said that the different extradition requests are inextricably linked, and he would therefore be handing down his judgment at the end of hearing all the arguments.
Additional hearings scheduled for November 3, for the judge to rule on the admissibility of the evidence that will be presented before him, and December 1, when both sides will make their final submissions, mean his ruling on whether Modi has a case to answer before the Indian courts are expected only after the final hearing in December.
The charges against the diamond merchant center around his firm Diamonds R Us, Solar Exports, and Stellar Diamonds making fraudulent use of a credit facility offered by PNB, known as ‘letters of undertaking’ (LoUs).
The CPS, appearing on behalf of India, had told the court that a number of PNB staff conspired with Modi to ensure LoUs were issued to his 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.
Modi’s team has sought to counter allegations of fraud by deposing witnesses to establish the volatility of the gems trade and that the LoUs were standard practice.
Modi has made repeated attempts at bail over the past year, each of which was turned down as he is deemed a flight risk. The jeweler was arrested on March 19, 2019, on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard.
At a case management hearing ahead of the trial last week, Modi’s barrister Clare Montgomery had told the judge that she may be seeking a partial reporting ban on the proceedings following allegations of ‘party political bias’ against one of their ‘expert witnesses from India’ retired Indian High Court judge Abhay Thipsay.
“We may have to put in an application for reporting restrictions around the reporting of his [Thipsay] evidence to avoid further public comment on it,” she said.
From the legal documents submitted, prison conditions in India will once again play a major part in this extradition case, as in the past with other Indian extradition cases, with Modi’s severe mental health condition being a factor to be raised behind closed doors.
Bharat Ratna awardee and true gem Lata Mangeshkar Ji is no more
The nightingale of the music industry, Lata Mangeshkar Ji passed away on February 6 at the age of 92 in the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. She was born on September 29, 1929. Very few singers have achieved the admiration that she did in her life.
She sang thousands of songs in more than 20 different languages. Not only in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan, she was also admired and praised in western countries.
PM Modi was among the first ones to share the sad news. “The kind and caring Lata Didi has left us. She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled. The coming generations will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerise people,” he tweeted.
Apart from Bharat Ratna, she received numerous honors like the Daughter of the Nation award, the Legion of Honour award from the French government, and many more. Lata Mangeshkar truly was a gift that India will never cease cherishing.
We at Giveupnot pay our heartly tributes to her and wish that “unki aatma ko sadgati prapt ho”, OM SHANTI.
A man in New Zealand finds insects in his Domino’s pizza
A man in West Auckland, New Zealand says he was left feeling sick after allegedly discovering maggots (insects larva) on his takeaway pizza order from Domino’s. However, the Domino’s Pizza outlet where Reginald Thalari says he bought the pizza denied the claim.
On Tuesday afternoon, Thalari purchased four pizzas from Domino’s Pizza outlet in Avondale for his employees. But it was after they had eaten a few slices that Thalari alleges they made a stomach-churning discovery.
“It was disgusting. We ordered four pizzas but when we opened the box with pepperoni we saw maggots on the ham. I felt like spewing, to be honest. If someone says would you like some pizza I think I’ll turn them down next time.”
However, a Domino’s spokesperson said that it is extremely unlikely maggots would have been in store pre-purchase and said it would be “impossible” for eggs to survive the temperature of their ovens.
“Domino’s takes food health and safety extremely seriously, and ensures these standards are upheld through regular audits and inspections of stores throughout the year,” the spokesperson said.
The Domino’s Pizza spokeswoman further said that “Upon learning of this customer’s experience, we contacted the customer directly and have organised a deep clean of the store, as well as for our pest control company to further inspect,”
Singer Shobhit Sahay won hearts with his song ‘Mehrbaan Alvida’
Music can evoke many emotions in you. Songs help you express feelings for which you can’t find words. Singers play a key role in giving that effect to a song with their beautiful voices. In a country like India, many young singers are leaving people impressed with their impeccable talent. Shobhit Sahay from Muzaffarpur is one such talented singer/vocalist who is here to rule hearts.
Currently, Shobhit Sahay is grabbing headlines and making people fall in love with his song ‘Mehrbaan Alvida’. His melodious voice has elevated the song’s mood along with the catchy music. The song is trending on the internet and has crossed more than 100K views recently. Shobhit is over the moon with such a positive response to his latest release.
Along with being a good singer, Shobhit Sahay is also popular among the netizens as a social media influencer. Shobhit has thousands of followers on his Instagram account, where he shares videos covering various tracks. A few months ago, legendary singer Stebin Ben praised Shobhit for his amazing vocal skills. Shobhit also runs a YouTube channel where people can’t get enough of his talent and music skills.
Shobhit shares about his journey and love for music, “I have been into music since childhood. I used to listen to singers like Arijit Singh, Stebin Ben, Jubin Nautiyal and others. They captivate your mind with their soulful voice. They made me believe in my dreams and I am happy that people enjoy my work, especially my latest songs. I hope I keep making more original songs and people keep showering me with such good love.”
Thanks to the success of Mehrbaan Alvida, singer Shobhit Sahay has got the attention of many top Bollywood composers. Currently, various music composers have approached his to sing either for a movie or web show. Shobhit is excited about the way his singing career is shaping. Soon, he will announce his new project on social media.
About the enormous love and appreciation she receives on social media, the singer expresses, “I am incredibly amazed by the support and fondness of my Instagram followers. Their constant comments, appreciation, likes, and sharing of my content is what made me so strong in the world of social media. Deeply overwhelmed with the response. I hope I keep giving my best and make my followers and music lovers happy.”