New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said the deposition by former high court judge Abhay Thipsay in Nirav Modi’s extradition trial in the UK is an example of the Congress sparing no efforts to shield the diamond merchant.
On Wednesday, Thipsay made a statement on legal nuances under Indian law centred round the inadmissibility of some police statements in the case against Nirav Modi, and the definition of deception under Indian law.
Reacting to Thipsay’s comments, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said his statement is legally untenable.
“A retired judge is giving a judicial certificate, his opinion is legally unsound. This is an attempt to give a misleading defence of a questionable legal variety and we are confident that the legal process will not be affected,” he told journalists during a web conference.
Prasad alleged the former judge is a member of the Congress, and it was during the tenure of the Congress-led UPA governments that loans were sanctioned to the firms of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.
“Who is this judge Abhay Thipsay? He’s a retired judge from Mumbai high court. Ten months prior to his retirement, he was transferred by the Supreme Court collegium on administrative grounds to Allahabad high court,” he said.
“After retirement, he joined the Congress party in the presence of Rahul Gandhi, Ashok Gehlot and Ashok Chauhan,” he added.
Prasad further said the Congress didn’t deny that its former president Rahul Gandhi was present at an event along with Nirav Modi. The event was held in September 2013.
“His uncle’s (Choksi’s) company [Gitanjali] was given benefit when [P] Chidambaram was the finance minister. Gitanjali’s exports benefited after the results of the 2014 general election were announced, a caretaker government took a decision that was questionable,” Prasad said.
The Indian government, he said, is making all efforts to ensure that Nirav Modi is extradited from the UK.
“When the country is trying to bring him back, and the process is underway, a Congress judge is taking a legally unsustainable stand. The BJP condemns this sinister attempt of the Congress to bail out this criminal,” he said.
The Congress rubbished the allegations, saying advocates have right to appear for their clients.
“Hope #Lawminister has intentionally or unintentionally not reopened can of worms re senior distinguished #BJP lawyers, now departed souls (#RIP), whose children held briefs & retainers 4high profile accused in #UK! Such reasoning denies legal rep 2accused b4 conviction and after!” party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted.
“#lawministers know right of advocates 2appear 4clients which cnot b trifled with. #Thipsay gave evidence in UK court which he has right 2do wo dictation by BJP. 1 of 3accused in Indira assassination was acquitted cos lawyers like #jethamalani were nt browbeaten into nt appearing!” he said in another tweet.