Nirav Modi case: CBI, ED differ on allowing foreign travel to kin

The Bombay High Court has remarked that, for the first time, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were on a “different footing” in the case concerning fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi’s brother-in-law Maiank Mehta

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Sunday, July 24, 2022, 10:22 AM IST
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Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi | PTI

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has remarked that, for the first time, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were on a “different footing” in the case concerning fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi’s brother-in-law Maiank Mehta.

A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Sharmila Deshmukh made the observation on Friday, while hearing an appeal filed by the CBI against the order of the special court allowing Mehta to travel back to his residence in Hong Kong.

“This is the first time that the CBI and ED are on different footing,” remarked justice Dere.

Earlier, Mehta was a co-accused in the ED case against Modi. He and his wife, Purvi (Modi’s sister) told the court that they would provide details they had regarding the fraud done by Modi to the special court as well as the investigating agency. However, in lieu of that, they sought that the restriction on their travel be withdrawn.

Agreeing, the special court trying cases filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) granted them pardon and directed that the red corner notice against them be withdrawn, too.

Following this, the ED acknowledged Mehta as a witness instead of an accused. After Mehta got the permission to travel to Hong Kong, the CBI opposed the same contending that he was still an accused in the case registered by them, and hence he can’t travel abroad.

During the hearing on Friday, Mehta’s counsel Amit Desai argued that in June the CBI had said that he was not an accused in their case.

Later, the CBI claimed that they have found new “incriminating material”. Desai said that the incriminating material the agency was talking about existed since 2018 in the ED case.

The counsel even said that Mehta was co-operating with the investigating agency and had been to the CBI office 15-16 times. It was only when Mehta informed that he could not appear on June 29 since he was on a pilgrimage, the CBI said that he was not co-operating.

Desai pointed out that the Rs 30 million transaction, which the CBI claimed was new incriminating material, was mentioned even in the extradition treaty, which was jointly prepared by the CBI and ED.

Since, Mehta was accused in the ED case against Modi, he (Mehta) sought pardon from the PMLA court only, said Desai, adding that the FIR registered by the CBI does not name him.

He sought that the pardon granted to him in the ED case should be extended in the CBI case as well. The HC has kept the matter for order on July 25.

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