Nirav Modi opposes ED’s fugitive offender plea

Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi filed nine applications before the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Monday against an application filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to declare him a fugitive economic offender (FEO) in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank fraud.

In the applications filed in the court of judge M.S. Azmi, Mr. Modi’s prime argument was that the ED complaint had not been filed in accordance with the law and, thus, must not be considered valid by the court.

His lawyer argued that as per the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA), a complaint may be filed by the director or any other officer not below the rank of deputy director “authorised” by the director. In the present case, Mr. Modi said, the ED plea was undersigned by one C. Mahesh Chandra Reddy, claiming to be a deputy director, but the latter has not submitted any authorisation documents as required under the Act.

A second application wants him to be declared ‘honest’ in light of non-compliance of Rule 3 of the declaration of FEO (Forms and Manners of Filing Application) Rules, 2018. The third application seeks placing on record an order passed by the PMLA court on October 5, 2018, and its compliance in respect of the maintenance of the status quo. The fourth wants the matter to be referred to the High Court under Section 395 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The fifth application is urging for an enquiry and making a complaint in writing to the metropolitan magistrate/magistrate of first class concerned for offences committed for concealing material documents and for making false statements which by law is receivable as evidence and dishonestly making false claim in the court as per the FEO ordinance.

The sixth application is for dismissal of the complaint filed by ED for playing a fraud in this court. The seventh application refers to a criminal contempt petition filed by Mr. Modi in HC against ED. The eight application seeks permission to lead evidence for effective and proper disposal of the present matter.

The ninth application is for seeking permission to cross-examine certain persons, mentioned in the application by ED under the ordinance, including the investigating officers.

Advocate Vijay Agarwal, representing Mr. Modi also filed an application to transfer all the cases against him to a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court, as matters are being heard in that court as well so it would be better if all cases are heard by one single court.

Previously, the CBI Court had dismissed the application filed by the ED to transfer all cases to a special PMLA court.

Mr. Modi’s younger brother Neeshal Modi, also an accused in the case, filed an application through his advocate Abhimanyu Bandhari. The application states that he has nothing to do with his elder brother or his business and has been falsely implicated in the case. All these applications will be heard on November 19.

Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court on Monday rejected the bail plea filed by Manish Bosamiya, former assistant general manager of Firestar International Limited, owned by Mr. Modi. Mr Bosamiya’s bail pleas has been rejected twice by the CBI court.

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