New Delhi: The BJP accused Thursday the Congress of trying ‘its best to save’ fugitive businessman Nirav Modi. The saffron party cited the statement of a former high court judge, also a member of the opposition party, in the diamond merchant’s defence in a UK court.
Senior BJP leader and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Abhay Thipsay, a former judge of Bombay and Allahabad high courts, deposed as a defence witness in the case to oppose extradition proceedings against Nirav Modi by stating that the charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy against him will not stand up under Indian law.
Prasad noted that Thipsay had joined the Congress in 2018 and had met top party leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Ashok Gehlot and Ashok Chavan.
The ‘judge sahab’ is not acting in his individual capacity but is working at the behest of the Congress, Prasad claimed. He added that Thipsay is hardly a big name otherwise in legal circles.
“There is overpowering suspicious circumstances existing from which we can infer that the Congress is trying its best to save and bail out Nirav Modi,” Prasad said. He claimed that the development has ‘unmasked’ the opposition party which has always tried to ‘protect’ Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksy, also a fugitive. Indian probe agencies will mount an effective reply to Thipsay’s statement, Prasad said.
Though Modi had fled India during the BJP-led NDA government’s rule, most of his alleged crimes pertained to the period of the Congress-led UPA rule, Prasad said. He asserted that central government has acted strongly with probe agencies confiscating his assets and auctioning them. “The probe agencies have been working to bring him (Nirav) to justice in India,” the law minister added.
Prasad, himself a senior lawyer, had a swipe at Thipsa. He said that that Prasad was transferred to the Allahabad High Court from the Bombay High Court 10 months before his retirement on administrative ground. “That tells its own story,” the BJP leader said.
An extradition request from the Indian government was certified by the UK Home Office in February last year before Nirav’s arrest by Scotland Yard, March 19, 2019. The jeweller remains behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since then, failing to get bail despite repeated attempts.