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Nirav Modi denied bail in London court, to stay in jail till March 29



Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi was arrested and denied bail at the Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday, setting off another high-profile extradition trial involving large-scale financial irregularities in India, three months after that of businessman Vijay Mallya.

Modi, 48, was arrested by Scotland Yard in the central London area of Holborn on Tuesday on India’s extradition request made in August 2018. He is wanted in India to face allegations of defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB) of over Rs 14,000 crore, among other charges.

Modi declared in court his intention to contest the extradition request and offered to pay 500,000 pounds as security deposit for bail. But this was denied due to what the judge called the “high value of amount involved in the allegations” and the likelihood of Modi escaping. He will remain in custody until the next hearing on March 29.

“I have substantial grounds to believe that you may not surrender”, judge Marie Mallon told him.

The trial will be held in the magistrates court over several months, possibly extending more than a year, as it did in the case of Mallya. He was arrested and bailed on April 18, 2017 and the court pronounced its judgement, ordering his extradition, on December 10, 2018.

Scotland Yard said in a statement before Modi was produced in court: “Nirav Deepak Modi, 48 (Date of Birth 24.02.71), was arrested on behalf of the Indian Authorities on Tuesday, 19 March, in Holborn”.

Modi is reported to have sought asylum, but UK officials following a long-standing policy do not confirm or deny an individual’s application. Legal experts say that his arrest suggests that the application, if made, would have been rejected, since granting asylum to a person facing fraud charges in India would be an abuse of process.

Both Modi and Mallya extradition cases relate to loans worth thousands of crores of rupees secured from Indian banks; from a consortium of banks that includes IDBI and SBI in the Mallya case, and the Mumbai branch of the PNB in Modi’s case.

However, there are key differences in the nature of charges of financial impropriety. Mallya’s main contention was that there is no prima facie case against him, since the inability of his Kingfisher Airlines to return loans, according to him, was due to a genuine business failure.

The case was described by the judge as ‘a jigsaw puzzle’, while Mark Summers, lawyer representing India, accused Mallya of ‘three chapters of dishonesty’: misrepresentations made to banks to secure loans, what was done with the loans secured, and what he and his companies did when banks recalled the loans.

After over a year of hearings involving thousands of pages of documents and witnesses, chief judge Emma Arbuthnot in December 2018 upheld India’s case that there is a prima facie case for him to answer in India, dismissing other grounds such as risk to human rights in jail and abuse of process.

In contrast, Modi’s case may be decided over a shorter time-frame, given the different, seemingly clearer charges of impropriety and fraud against him, his family and others, including some PNB officials, as outlined in CBI’s chargesheet filed in Indian courts.

Under the India-UK extradition treaty, the person requested needs to be charged with an offence that amounts to an offence in both countries (the principle of dual criminality). Modi’s arrest implies that the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the conduct described in India’s request is an extradition offence, including the requirement for dual criminality.

As in the Mallya case, Modi’s defence team is likely to raise issues in court to prevent his extradition, such as risk to his human rights in Indian jails, political persecution and alleged infirmities in the Indian judicial system that prevent delivery of justice.

India successfully countered such claims in the court with documentary and visual evidence in the Mallya case, including a sovereign assurance from the Union home ministry that there would be no risk to his human rights.

India’s charges against Modi, as provided to Interpol, are: ‘punishment of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker merchant or agent, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, prevention of corruption act, money laundering’.

As in the Mallya case, CBI and Enforcement Directorate officials are likely to travel from India to attend hearings in the Modi case. Officials closely associated with the Mallya case say it was a ‘learning exercise’ for ministries, CBI and others, when, for the first time, there was ‘joined-up thinking’ and attention to detail in New Delhi and London; a similar focus is likely in the Modi case.

While Modi’s case begins the first legal stage in the magistrates court, Mallya’s case has progressed from the magistrates court (ordering his extradition) to the home secretary (also ordering his extradition), and is now in the appeals court, where a judge will consider his application challenging the home secretary’s order.

Until focus on the Mallya case prompted renewed attention to improve the quality of Indian evidence and paperwork, previous extradition cases used to be accompanied by bundles of poorly written FIRs and documents, many hand-written, resulting in a catalogue of failures since the India-UK extradition treaty of 1993.



Do you want electric buses to operate in your neighborhood too? Send your suggestions here.



Image Source: PTI

A survey is being conducted in Delhi to initiate small-sized electric neighborhood buses on congested roads. The Delhi Transport Department has commenced an extensive ground survey to determine suitable routes for neighborhood bus services in different areas of Delhi. This survey will run from June 1st to June 15th, with 23 technical teams deployed in various locations across Delhi for study purposes.

Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot stated that the Delhi government has never purchased more than 2000 feeder buses before this initiative. The 9-meter buses will operate on routes where 12-meter buses are unable to reach. Delhi residents can also share their feedback and suggestions regarding the neighborhood buses at mohallabusfeedback [at]

To ensure the inclusion of public suggestions, teams have been formed by the Transport Department to gather insights from the people of Delhi. This will guarantee that all significant routes are covered by these neighborhood buses.

The technical teams involved in the survey will visit metro stations, bus terminals, bus stops, and different areas of Delhi. The survey will focus on the following four aspects:

  1. Assessment of travel demand: The survey teams will examine last-mile connectivity in each area and study the transportation needs of the general public for such connectivity.
  2. Road network: The survey teams will assess road width, encroachments, and obstacles encountered during bus operations.
  3. Public transport connectivity: All teams will determine the distance travelers need to cover to reach public transport. A Pakistani team will also investigate the availability of other public transport options in the area.
  4. Para-transit connectivity: The availability of options such as e-rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, and other para-transit services in specific areas will also be surveyed.

According to the information received from the Transport Department, the data collected during this survey will be digitized. It will be used to determine the origin and destination of proposed neighborhood bus services in each area. Additionally, the survey aims to identify potential routes that will benefit the maximum number of passengers through neighborhood buses.

It should be noted that Kailash Gahlot, Delhi’s Finance Minister, who also serves as the Transport Minister, announced the Neighborhood Bus Plan in the budget speech. The objective of this plan is to deploy 9-meter-long electric buses to provide local or feeder bus services. The Kejriwal government has planned to operate a total of 2,180 such buses by 2025. The neighborhood buses will be specifically operated in those areas of Delhi where road width is limited or regular operation of 12-meter buses is difficult due to congestion.

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Delhi’s Coolest May in 36 Years: Record-Breaking Temperatures and Abundant Rainfall



Image: PTI

Delhi has recently witnessed a remarkable drop in temperatures during the month of May, marking it as the coolest May in the past 36 years. This significant shift can be attributed to the abundant rainfall that showered the city over the course of two weeks.

Surprisingly, Delhi encountered an unusual 11 days of rainfall, which is quite uncommon for this hot summer month. Data provided by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) reveals that the average maximum temperature recorded in May this year was 36.8 degrees Celsius, the lowest since 1987. It is worth mentioning that in May 1987, the Safdarjung weather station recorded an even lower average maximum temperature of 36 degrees Celsius, according to IMD scientist Kuldeep Srivastava.

To put things into perspective, the average maximum temperature in May last year was a scorching 40.1 degrees Celsius. The stark contrast in temperatures this year can be attributed to the five active western disturbances that affected the northwest plains of India. Srivastava highlighted that while the region usually experiences two to three western disturbances during this period, this year marked the fifth one.

Delhi received a staggering 111 mm of rainfall in May, which was 262 percent above the normal average of 30.7 mm for the month. The city has also witnessed above-normal rainfall in March, April, and May, accumulating a total of 184.3 mm during the pre-monsoon season. This figure represents an excess of 186 percent compared to the average of 64.4 mm.

Furthermore, the Safdarjung weather station did not record any instances of a heatwave throughout May, although other weather stations in the vicinity reported heatwave conditions. The copious rainfall and gusty winds not only provided relief from the scorching heat but also improved Delhi’s air quality. On Wednesday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 85, falling under the ‘satisfactory’ category. In contrast, on May 23, when there was no rainfall, the AQI soared to 198, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Remarkably, data from the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) shows that the average PM10 and PM2.5 levels from January to May this year have been the second lowest since 2016. The lowest levels were observed in 2020 due to the summer lockdown.

In conclusion, Delhi’s unusual weather patterns in May, marked by the lowest temperatures in over three decades and abundant rainfall, have brought relief from the scorching heat and improved air quality in the city.

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Delhi Government Introduces Small Electric ‘Mohalla Buses’ for Improved Public Transport.



Image: PTI

The Delhi government is taking a big step towards improving the city’s public transportation system by introducing small-sized electric “Mohalla Buses” on the streets. To make sure they identify the areas where these buses are needed and determine the best routes for them, the Transport Department has launched a comprehensive 15-day evaluation campaign. Starting from Thursday, teams of experts will be deployed in different areas until June 15 to conduct the study.

This means that soon we’ll have these convenient and eco-friendly buses operating throughout Delhi! Isn’t that exciting?

But that’s not all! The government has also come up with a plan to purchase over 2,000 feeder buses. These buses will serve routes where the regular 12-meter buses can’t go. So, it will make traveling much more convenient for all the bus commuters out there!

To ensure that they cover all the important areas and connect the major attractions in the city, They are forming teams across Delhi to gather feedback from the people. Their input will help them determine the most suitable routes for these Mohalla Buses. After all, They want to make sure that everyone benefits from this new and improved public transport system!

So get ready, Delhiites! Exciting changes are on the horizon, making your daily commute more comfortable and sustainable.

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