As US drops extradition request, Dawood’s top aide Jabir Moti to walk out of London jail
London, Apr 11: Jabir Moti, described in court as a "top lieutenant" of Dawood Ibrahim's D Company worldwide criminal network, is set to be freed from a London prison and fly out to Pakistan after the US dropped an extradition request for him to face drug trafficking, money laundering and blackmail charges.
Moti, a 53-year-old Pakistani national also known as Jabir Motiwala and Jabir Siddiq, had appealed against his extradition order in the High Court in London and was awaiting judgment when the extradition request was withdrawn this week.
The US extradition request had stated that Moti reported directly to underworld don Dawood, who is a designated terrorist and wanted for the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai.
"Mr Motiwala was granted unconditional bail by Westminster Magistrates' Court. The USA have withdrawn the extradition request. Therefore, we will not be appealing any decision to grant bail," said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which appears in court on behalf of the US authorities in extradition matters.
Moti, who has been behind bars at Wandsworth prison in south-west London since his arrest in 2018, had appealed against the Westminster Magistrates'' Court extradition order of District Judge John Zani from February last year, which had concluded that there are no bars to his extradition.
According to sources, Moti now awaits a final Home Office sign off on the bail order and is expected to fly out to Pakistan in the coming days.
The UK Home Office declined to make a statement, saying it did not "comment on individual cases".
Last month, Pakistani media reports claimed that a former Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agent had come forward stating that his FBI bosses had ordered him to trap Moti at any cost.
The former agent was quoted by 'Geo News' as saying that he had "irrefutable evidence" proving Moti''s innocence.
Besides money laundering, Moti faced extradition to the US on charges of extortion and conspiracy to import unlawful substances such as heroine after his arrest by Scotland Yard's Extradition Unit in August 2018.
Meanwhile, at the last appeal hearing in the High Court on March 25, Lord Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith and Justice Robert Jay noted that this was no "straightforward case" as they reserved their judgment on the appeal, which was expected later this month.
Moti's barrister Edward Fitzgerald had asserted that the accused faced a very real risk of an enhancement of charges to terrorism. The terror charge would have put Moti at risk of being sentenced to life imprisonment without parole under the US law, which his lawyer argued would be in breach of his human rights. He also argued that Moti's clinical depression is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him, given his very high risk of suicide.
John Hardy, appearing on behalf of the US government, pointed to diplomatic assurances from the American authorities and that there was "no instance" of such assurances being dishonoured.
Unlike the India-UK Extradition Treaty, the US-UK treaty involves a relatively simpler legal process for extradition as the requesting state is not required to establish an elaborate prima facie case against the accused before the British courts.
District Judge Zani's ruling in favour of extradition was handed down last year in two parts, one open to the public and the other partly closed and classified due to "sensitive" evidence presented in-camera to the court.
It noted that according to information set out in the US extradition request, Moti is said to be an important member of an international criminal organisation called "D Company", based in Pakistan, India and the UAE.
That organisation is said to have conducted criminal activities in the US, which include drug trafficking, money laundering and blackmail.
During closing arguments in the case in November 2019, the judge had sought clarity from the US authorities about the terror aspect of the case, due to references to Moti''s links with D Company.
"There is an added element to this case in that there is a clear reference to this man's (Moti) position, who is said to be a lieutenant of the man (Dawood) who is involved in the most horrendous crimes, including bombings in India," Judge Zani had noted.