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In his desperation, fugitive Nirav Modi uses his pet dog to seek bail but fails the second attempt

The first bail plea was rejected by District Judge Marie Mallon soon after his arrest.

In an amusing twist of events, fugitive Nirav Modi’s defence team used his pet dog in their pursuit to get Nirav Modi out of jail but failed in their attempt.

The futile attempt of his barrister, Clare Montgomery, trying hard to establish his close ties with the UK, including having to care for a pet dog, in order to get Nirav Modi a bail in his extradition case at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court failed to yield results. The judge hearing the plea agreed, that the conditions did not meet Modi’s statutory right to bail in such a case and thereby directed Modi to be remanded in custody.

He would have to appear for a remand hearing via video call on April 26, required within a four-week period of an accused being remanded in custody.

Clare Montgomery, Modi’s barrister, had made a series of offers to try and convince the judge to grant bail.

“He did have a son at Charterhouse (school in London) who has now gone to university in the States and as a sign of ageing parents, led Modi to get a dog instead. None of these actions is emblematic of someone setting out to flee the country,” Montgomery claimed.

“It is nonsense to say that he is a flight risk. He does not have a safe haven open to him and he has not travelled or applied for citizenship elsewhere – he only qualifies for leave to remain in this country,” she added.

Nirav Modi’s defence team offered to submit to several “stringent conditions”, including Modi wearing an electronic tag to be monitored regularly, also guaranteeing that Modi would keep a mobile phone on him which would be charged and switched on at all times, and would submit to complete travel restrictions and also surrender all his residence permits, including for Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE.

Meanwhile, Toby Cadman, representing crown prosecution on behalf of Indian authorities, had stressed that Modi posed a significant flight risk and was also likely to further intimidate witnesses and destroy evidence if he were released. He also contended that Modi has not been cooperating with the Indian agencies.

In his final submission at London’s Westminster Magistrate court, Toby also said that Nirav Modi has called up a witness ‘Ashish Lad’ and threatened to kill him.

The prosecution also successfully countered the claims made by the defence team that Nirav Modi had not travelled out of the UK since January 2018, when he allegedly arrived in Britain to establish the global headquarters of his diamond business.

In fact, CPS barrister Toby Cadman told the court that he had flown out to New York as recently as last month.

Judge Arbuthnot accepted the Indian government’s arguments, noting the “very unusual” evidence she had seen at this early stage in the case of interference with witnesses and destroying evidence in the form of mobile phones and a server and rejected the bail application.

This was Nirav Modi’s second attempt to seek bail after his arrest on March 20, 17 months after he fled India, by Scotland Yard officers from a central London bank branch, while he had been trying to open a new bank account and since then has been in custody at the HMP Wandsworth prison in south-west London. The first bail plea was rejected by District Judge Marie Mallon soon after his arrest.

Meanwhile, Modi will remain at the Wandsworth prison in south-west London during this period, where he will be allowed to hold sessions with his legal team to deliberate on the future course of the extradition case.

Recently media had tracked Nirav Modi in London, who reportedly lives in a luxury 8 million pound apartment in west London, and currently deals in the diamond business.

The Indian government was aware of his presence in the UK, and ED had already requested the UK government for extradition in July 2018. The UK government had found the Nirav Modi case fit for extradition, and the request was sent by UK Central Authority of Home Office to the Westminster Magistrate Court for further proceedings.

The Westminster Court has issued the arrest warrant against Nirav Modi as part of processing this extradition request.

Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi, brother Nishal Modi, and uncle Mehul Choksi are accused defrauding Punjab National Bank to the tune of Rs 14,356 crore by obtaining Letter of Undertaking without furnishing any guarantee.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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