Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju (File photo)
LONDON: Nirav Modi has become a “scapegoat” for India’s economic collapse in the same way Jews were blamed for the economic troubles in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, and will not get a fair trial in India, former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju alleged in a lengthy deposition before a London court on Friday.
He was then cross-examined by the Indian government’s barrister about his controversial views on gays, single women, Gandhi, and his desire to cause Pakistan and Bangladesh to disappear.
Katju also said in the Westminster magistrates’ court that the Ayodhya case judgment, which he termed the “most shameful verdict in 50 years”, was an example of the judiciary’s surrender and that he would have dismissed the case as “humbug” in a minute.
It was another day of high drama on the final day of the fugitive jeweller’s main extradition hearing at Westminster magistrates’ court. Katju, who appeared via video link, said: “Even before the corona pandemic the Indian economy was collapsing, GDP is going down, businesses are closing down and hundreds of millions are losing jobs. The BJP has no idea how to solve it so they must find some scapegoat. They want to blame all economic collapse that the government of India has created on Nirav Modi.” He added: “He is their scapegoat. This is why they are so adamant to get him back and convict him… he will definitely get convicted, no doubt about it. He will not get a fair trial in India.”
He alleged people were afraid to appear as witnesses for Nirav as if they did “criminal laws would be applied against them and they would be put behind bars.”
“Nirav is the Jew of India, just like in Nazi Germany, just like Jews were scapegoats and they had to blame economic woes on them,” he said.
Cross-examining him, Helen Malcolm QC, representing the CPS on behalf of the Indian government, pointed out that rather than the BJP needing a scapegoat because they have no idea how to solve India’s economic problems, Nirav had admitted owing Punjab National Bank more than $1 billion and the question of whether the debt was dishonestly or honestly incurred was a matter for trial in India. Katju said: “I’m not going into the merits of the case. I have said he cannot get a fair trial in India.”
Malcolm also asked Katju about his written views that gay relationships are unnatural, that Gandhi was a British agent, that a woman needed a man to provide for them, and that he was chairman of an organisation that sought to annihilate Pakistan and Bangladesh. She then accused him of being a self-publicist.
Katju said: “That is your opinion.” He then suggested she read the George Bernard Shaw book, “Man and Superman”. “At one point people saying the Earth goes round the Sun was considered as outrageous. It was found to be correct in the end. I don’t care if what I say is controversial,” he said.
Malcolm presented a written undertaking to the court that the Indian government would provide all the psychiatric help that Nirav needs in Arthur Road Jail since it was not being provided in Wandsworth prison. Nirav’s barrister, Clare Montgomery QC, objected to the statement being submitted late and said she would comment on it at the next hearing, on November 3, when admissibility of evidence will be argued.