The District Judge Samuel Goozee in London has adjourned hearing in the extradition case of fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi to September 7 even as it heard a video where a group of six men can be seen accusing Modi of threatening them with life.
Modi is wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated $2 billion. In the video, each of six persons is seen making allegations of being forced to leave Dubai and come to Cairo, where their passports were seized and were allegedly forced to sign documents against their will by Nirav's brother, Nehal Modi.
One of the witness named Ashish Kumar Mohanbhai Lad said that Nirav Modi called me and said that he would implicate me for theft. He also used the worst expletives and told me that he would get me killed.
These witnesses were part of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) discovery that dummies were appointed in several overseas companies in Hong Kong and Dubai, though the companies remained under the direct control of Nirav Modi.
The list of other witnesses in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) include Rushabh Jethwa, who says he is the namesake owner of Empire Gems FZE in Sharjah; Sonu Mehta, the namesake director of Auragem Company Limited, Hong Kong; Shreedhar Mayekar, the namesake owner of Unique Diamond and Jewellery, Azman; and Nileshkumar Balwantrai Mistry, the namesake owner of Hamilton Precious Traders Limited in Dubai.
The witnesses, speaking in Hindi as well as Gujarati, can be heard saying that they are making the recording as they fear for their life and just want to go back to India but are being held against their will.
The charges against the 49-year-old diamond merchant centre around his firms Diamonds R Us, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds making fraudulent use of a credit facility offered by the Punjab National Bank (PNB), known as "letters of undertaking" (LoUs).
According to the case filed by Indian government, a number of PNB staff conspired with Modi to ensure LoUs were issued to these companies without ensuring they were subject to the required credit check. This resulted in a fraud amounting to nearly $2 billion.
Upon request by the Indian government, the extradition request for Nirav Modi was cleared by the UK Home Office in February, 2019 and subsequently, he was arrested by police on March 19 last year. Modi continues to be in prison at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since then, failing to get bail despite repeated attempts.
The UK Home Office cleared second extradition request, relating to "causing the disappearance of evidence" and intimidating witnesses or "criminal intimidation to cause death", this year.
Modi’s extradition trial will conclude only in September now after the conclusion of second part of the case.