New Delhi: Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju will testify as a witness in a London court against the extradition of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi. Modi is the prime accused in the $2 billion in Punjab National Bank (PNB) and is fighting extradition and money laundering charges.
Katju will oppose the Indian government’s plea seeking Modi’s extradition on the grounds that he might not receive a ‘free and fair trial’ in India. As per the reports, Katju reasoned that Modi has already been subjected to a ‘media trial’ in India and that the environment was hostile. However, Katju will not talk about the merits of the criminal case against the fugitive.
The former SC judge also questioned how will the Indian courts exercise impartiality in Nirav Modi’s case when Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had already declared him guilty.
“He will be made a scapegoat,” the written statement submitted to the court by the former Press Council of India chairman. “It is indeed direct and indirect political/government interference in the Indian judiciary and in CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) & ED (Enforcement Directorate),” the statement reads.
Katju’s statement also comments on the Indian judiciary. He wrote: “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 favorable to the ruling party and the powers that be. This had never happened before in the judicial history of India.”