Former judge of the Bombay High Court, Abhay Thipsay, was examined before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court that is currently hearing the extradition proceedings against fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi. Five months after the investigationoccurred, he has backed out for being orally examined in the case again after his first deposition was “given a political color”.
Nirav Modi was refused bail for the seventh time by the court in the UK and he is currently lodged in prison. As the UK court is busy with other cases, the final hearing in the extradition case, which was scheduled for the month of December, is likely to be pushed to January 2021 and the order of the court is likely to come by February or March 2021.
The Indian Express was told by Thipsay that Boutique Law, the London-based law firm that is representing Modi had approached him earlier for his independent legal opinion on whether the cheating charge under section 420 of the IPC was made out against the diamantaire, had again approached him for two other opinions after a supplementary charge sheet was filed in the alleged Rs 13,600-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case.
Thipsay said, “They (law firm representing Modi) made one request (for legal opinion). While that was pending, a supplementary charge sheet was filed against Modi. The offences were different in the other request. They had sought my legal opinion on the charges of destruction of evidence and criminal intimidation that were not there in the (case) earlier. I had given my second opinion on whether these charges are made out or not. But I had told them that unless they (government of India) give an undertaking that they will not discuss my evidence in a press conference, I will not come (before the court). Ironically, they refused. They said we have no control over the press. The issue was not that. The issue was that they will not hold a press conference,”
An expert opinion was given earlier by Thipsay in which he stated that the cheating charge was not attracted in Modi’s case, and also added that in his opinion, charges of destruction of evidence and criminal intimidation were also the same.
A press conference held by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in May stated that Thipsay was a primary member of the Congress and he had deposed in Modi’s “defense” at the behest of his party. Thipsay had, however, said it was his professional opinion for which he had accepted fees.