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Fugitive Nirav Modi denied bail for third time- will remain in UK jail
Diamond merchant made bail plea due to ‘unlivable’ conditions of jail, but was denied by judge
By: Diamond World News Service
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May 9 2019 12:25PM
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Reference: 20209  

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Nirav Modi was denied bail for third time by UK court in his extradition case to India to face charges in Punjab National Bank fraud and money laundering case amounting to $2 billion. The court ruled that Modi will remain in custody as the judge has similar concerns as before that he would fail to surrender before the court.

Modi’s lawyers submitted a bail plea for the third time before presiding Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot doubling the security offered which helped changed circumstances; however the outcome remained the same. Commenting on the case, Judge Arbuthnot said, "This is a large fraud and the doubling of security to 2 million pounds is not sufficient to cover a combination of concerns that he would fail to surrender (if bail is granted)”. Modi has been in custody at the Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since his arrest in March.

 His lawyer Barrister Claire Montogomery revealed, “His experience in custody has been vivid and damaging…he is willing to abide by any bail conditions imposed by the court because Wandsworth is unliveable and makes the effective preparation of his case virtually impossible. Suffice to say efforts to present him

  • by the government of India
  • as a diabolical mechanic and cold blooded, hardened criminal are completely false.”

     His lawyers made the case that Modi’s lack of community ties has had an adverse effect on him. However, the judge had some doubts of Modi having major community ties having been in the UK for a short period of time. To this the lawyers argued that two of his children were based in the UK for summer internships; the judge ruled that it was unusual for adult children to tie anyone down to a single place. She stated, “Given the nature of the crime of sizeable fraud and that USD 60 million has been squirrelled away by him personally…the interference of witnesses, destruction of servers and mobile phones…combined with a lack of community ties mean I still have doubts that he would fail to surrender."

     The judge made a special note of a transcript of conversation where Modi’s brother Nehal Modi appeared to influence witnesses and seemed to be telling them what to say. To this the defence team replied that it was the Indian authorities that were intimidating witnesses and being ‘leant on’. Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) barrister Nick Hearn commented, “There is very credible evidence of interference with witnesses…they (former employees) were being told what to say. And, there is nothing to prevent a concerted attempt by Modi to abscond."

     It is also believed that Nehal was responsible for interacting with former employees of companies associated with Modi and even arranged for their flights to Cairo and was also behind the destruction of evidence in the form of servers and mobile phones. Hearn referred to $60 million held in Nirav Modi’s personal account which indicated large sums of untraced, fraudulent funds which would be controlled by Modi in a less secure environment outside jail. Montgomery countered this argument by claiming that there have been significant seizures of personal assets and personal items that belong to Modi.

     The legal team led by Anand Doobay offered 2 million pounds as security along with agreement to meet 24 hours electronic tag restrictions, similar to house arrest. However, the judge saw this as an attempt of Modi to flee India and seek shelter in UK which he views as a‘safe haven’ as it does not have an existing extradition treaty with India.

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