Justic Markandey Katju had given evidence to support Nirav Modi's claim that he would not get a fair trial in ...Read More
NEW DELHI: An
UK district judge
flung away the expert evidence given by retired
Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju
on behalf of diamantaire
to stop his extradition to India in the PNB fraud case. He termed Katju's claims of corruption and lack of credence in Indian judiciary and judges too tall to be believed.
Both justice Katju and retired Bombay HC judge AM Thipsay had given evidence to support Nirav Modi's claim that he would not get a fair trial in India. On Justice Katju, the district judge said, "I attach little weight to justice Katju's expert opinion. His evidence was in my assessment less than objective and reliable." On Thipsay, the UK Judge said, "I attach no weight to his opinion."
The judge said Justice Katju’s evidence centred primarily on the fact Indian courts have become politicised. Attempting to drive home his view that Nirav Modi will not get a fair trial in India, justice Katju had stated that in recent years the
in India has "practically surrendered before the Indian government and is doing its bidding and is not acting as an independent organ of the state protecting the rights of the people as it was supposed to be."
He had said, "Indian judiciary has largely surrendered before the political executive." The judge said, "He gave example of a case heard by the SC which in his view have been perversely decided and the Chief Justice was "simply doing the bidding of the Indian government. He has been rewarded as a quid pro quo by being nominated as a member of Parliament after retirement."
The UK judge said the accusation against the former
did not sit well in the mouth of Justice Katju, who after retirement himself secured appointment by the government to chairman of the Press Council of India.
On allegations of Justice Katju that Nirav Modi's case has attracted intense prejudicial media trial, the judge said, "I agree that sensationalist media reporting in high profile criminal cases is not unique to India and is not unknown in this jurisdiction."
The judge took note of solicitor general Tushar Mehta's August 20 letter annexed by the CBI, in which the SG had said, "There are a large number of criminal cases being tried in this country with respect to which various leaders across the political spectrum and other person in public life express their views. However, Indian judiciary, while adjudicating on a particular case, remains untouched, unmoved and unaffected. Every accused, including Nirav Modi would have all remedies available under the detailed provisions of the Code of Criminal procedure [which ensures protection of rights of every accused of neutrality, impartiality and objectivity of a criminal trial]."
The UK judge said, "There is nothing in the volumes of media, broadcasting or social media links that have been referred to me in the voluminous defence bundles that gives any indication that politicians are trying to influence the outcome of any trial, let alone Nirav Modi’s trial or that the trial process itself would be susceptible to such influence. I reject any submission that the government of India have deliberately engineered a media onslaught. I attach little weight to justice Katju’s expert opinion."
"Despite having been a former Supreme Court judge in India until his retirement in 2011 his evidence was in my assessment less than objective and reliable. His evidence in court appeared tinged with resentment towards former senior judicial colleagues. It had hallmarks of an outspoken critic with his own personal agenda. I found his evidence and behaviour in engaging the media the day before giving evidence to be questionable for someone who served the Indian judiciary at such a high level appointed to guard and protect the rule of law," the judge said.