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UK court denies bail to Nirav Modi for third time

UK court denies bail to Nirav Modi for third time
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London: A UK court Wednesday denied bail to Nirav Modi for the third time, saying the fugitive diamond merchant who is the main accused in the Punjab National Bank fraud and money laundering case amounting to up to USD 2 billion would fail to surrender.

Dressed in a light blue shirt and trousers, the 48-year-old appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot and sat behind a glass enclosure as the hearing got underway.

Modi's defence team doubled the bail security to 2 million pounds and offered he would stay on 24-hour curfew at his London flat. "Conditions in Wandsworth (prison) are unliveable... Modi is willing to abide by any conditions you choose to impose," his barrister Clare Montgomery told the Judge during the lengthy hearing. However, the judge was not convinced.

"This is a large fraud and the doubling of security to 2 million pounds is not enough to cover a combination of concerns that he would fail to surrender (if bail is granted)," said Judge Arbuthnot.

Earlier, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of Indian authorities, said Modi should not be granted bail as the evidence presented by the defence does not amount to change of circumstances required to third bail application. Modi's defence team, led by barrister Motgomery who was also the barrister for former Kingfisher Airlines boss Vijay Mallya in his extradition case - opposed the CPS claims of Modi being a flight risk. He is believed to have been living in the UK on an Investor Visa, applied for in 2015 at a time when the so-called golden visa route was relatively easier for super-rich individuals. PTI

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