UK court denies bail to Nirav for 2nd time
London: Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi was denied bail a second time Friday as a UK court ruled that there were "substantial grounds" to believe that he would fail to surrender and also noted that "very unusually in a fraud case" the accused had made death threats to witnesses.
At the end of the second bail application hearing at the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London of the 48-year-old prime accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ruled that the one million pounds his legal team had offered as security for bail as well as the offer to meet stringent electronic tag restrictions on their client's movements failed to convince her to grant bail. She set Modi's next remand hearing for April 26 via videolink from jail.
"This is a case of substantial fraud, with loss to a bank in India of between USD 1-2 billion. I am not persuaded that the conditional bail sought will meet the concerns of the government of India in this case," she noted. The court was told that Modi's son, who had been at school in London, had now left for higher studies in the US, which led the judge to conclude that Modi not only had a "lack of community ties" in the UK but also large resources at his disposal to try and flee the country.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, had also flagged Modi's attempt to acquire the citizenship of Vanuatu, a remote island country located in the South Pacific Ocean, in late 2017 as a sign of a man trying to evade justice. The judge agreed that the action was "some way away from a person running a series of businesses" from the UK and that the move to seek citizenship of Vanuatu did indicate that he was trying to "move away from India at an important time". The judge reiterated her previous strong direction to the Indian authorities to ensure all the documents submitted in the case are "properly paginated with a proper index", before setting May 24 as the deadline for the
CPS to submit their documents in the case before the court can decide on a potential hearing date for a full-fledged extradition trial. PTI