Nirav Modi case: Brother-in-law can't travel to Hong Kong, says Bombay HC

However, a division bench of justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Sharmila Deshmukh also restrained the CBI from taking any coercive action against Maiank Mehta till August 23 while asking him to appear before the central agency for investigation

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 09:37 AM IST
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Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi | File

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court (HC) on Monday refused to grant urgent permission to Maiank Mehta – brother-in-law of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi – for travel to Hong Kong, after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the case, contended that it is having a hard time extraditing Modi, who is the main accused.

However, a division bench of justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Sharmila Deshmukh also restrained the CBI from taking any coercive action against Mehta till August 23 while asking him to appear before the central agency for investigation.

The HC was hearing an appeal filed by the CBI against the order of the special court trying cases registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) allowing Mehta to travel back to his residence in Hong Kong.

Earlier, Mehta was an accused in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case against Modi. He and his wife Purvi (Modi's sister) agreed to cooperate and give the information they had against Modi.

Following this, they were granted pardon by the PMLA court trying the ED case. After Mehta got permission for travel to Hong Kong, the CBI opposed the same contending that he was still an accused in case registered by them and hence he cannot travel abroad.

Mehta's counsel Amit Desai contended that he has been extending all cooperation to the investigating agency. He urged the court to permit Mehta to travel to Hong Kong for one-two weeks since his family is there and he has been in India for over 10 months now.

“We have come with clean hands and want to participate in the investigation. He has been asking (the CBI) since 10 months whether he should go (to Hong Kong). He has written to all the officers (of the CBI). They never acknowledge the letters,” said Desai.

Seeking permission for at least temporary travel, Desai said, “His family is in Hong Kong. One parent, who is in Hong Kong had a fall recently and there was no one to look after the parent. However, he could not go. He also wanted to go for his child's graduation ceremony; it's an emotional issue.”

Raja Thakare, counsel for the CBI, opposed the plea and urged the court to not allow his plea expressing apprehension that he too may not return once he leaves India.

“The original case is against Nirav Modi. He (Mehta) is his brother in law. We have been trying to extradite Nirav Modi since so many years. He keeps rising various issues. First he citied poor prison conditions and now he is citing mental health,” said Thakare, adding that the extradition process is lengthy and cumbersome.

Thakare also pointed out that Mehta's wife is also an accused in the case and was turned approver.

“However, she is in Belgium and has not come (to India) even once. Since we don't have a treaty with Belgium, nothing can be done,” said Thakare adding that the same thing can happen in Mehta's case as he is a British citizen and a resident of Hong Kong.

The CBI counsel also dismissed Mehta's allegations saying that the investigating agency was not acting impulsively.

“The CBI has not acted impulsively. We have been carrying out the investigation and have not arrested him. We didn't jump to conclusions that he should be arrested,” said Thakare.

While granting relief from coercive action till August 23, the HC has kept the matter for hearing on August 22.

Mumbai: High Court denies Nirav Modi's brother-in-law permit to travel to Hong Kong

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