Maiank Mehta, a British national, made his first appearance before the court months after he turned a prosecution witness in the case.
A SPECIAL court on Tuesday cancelled the outstanding non-bailable warrants against Maiank Mehta, brother-in-law of fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, in connection with a money-laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate.
Mehta, a British national, made his first appearance before the court months after he turned a prosecution witness in the case.
Senior advocate Amit Desai, representing Mehta – who arrived from Hong Kong — said that it happens to be that his wife is the sister of an accused (Modi). “He is a British national but lives in Hong Kong. He is unfortunately caught in this issue,” Desai submitted before Special Judge V C Barde.
Mehta, along with his wife Purvi, Modi’s sister, had in January sought to become approvers in the case filed by the ED on charges of money-laundering against Modi and others. The court had allowed their pleas after they submitted that they would want to make disclosures which would prove critical to establish the facts against Modi and other accused.
Mehta had sought cancellation of the non-bailable warrants against him, stating that he would appear before the court once the restrictions on international travel imposed due to Covid-19 are relaxed. The court had kept the decision in abeyance till he appeared before the court.
After he informed the court last week that he would be appearing on Tuesday, the court directed that no action be taken against him until then after his arrival in the country.
The court allowed Mehta bail on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 50,000. Mehta’s lawyers also told the court that he will appear before the ED whenever required and intimate the central agency whenever he is leaving the country. It was submitted that Mehta is now a prosecution witness and will be cooperating with the agency.
Purvi, a Belgian national, had also sought cancellation of the warrants. The court has kept the plea in abeyance till she appears before the court.
In their applications to turn prosecution witnesses from the accused, the two had said that their personal and professional lives had come to standstill because of Modi’s alleged “criminal activities”. They also said they wanted to distance themselves from him and provide “substantial and important evidence” relevant to him and his dealings.
On Tuesday, the court was told that Mehta will be providing details of Modi’s assets and properties along with other evidence within his knowledge.
Modi and others were named as accused by both ED and the CBI in connection with a complaint of fraud filed by Punjab National Bank, claiming that fraudulent Letters of Undertaking were issued in his favour causing losses to the bank. While the CBI had not named Maiank and Purvi as accused, they were named in the ED complaint. The ED had given a no-objection to them turning approvers, stating that the pardon should only be in their individual capacities.
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