A court in the UK has rejected the bail application of fugitive Indian diamond tycoon Nirav Modi for the third time. As per the latest reports, the judge, in. a brief hearing remanded Nirav Modi in custody till May 24.
The judge has scheduled a next full-hearing for Nirav Modi on May 30.
Fugitive businessman Nirav Modi, who is undergoing extradition procedure after UK government had found his case fit for extradition, had appeared before the London court for a remand hearing on Friday.
The fraudster, who has been behind bars at Wandsworth prison in south-west London since his arrest last month, is set to be produced before a judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court via video link from the jail.
The hearing this week takes place as per the four-week time frame for judicial remand in such cases.
The hearing was scheduled after Nirav Modi failed his 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.
The fugitive diamantaire’s “lack of community ties” in the UK and his attempt to acquire Vanuatu’s citizenship in late 2017 went against him as the judge said it seemed like he was trying to “move away from India at an important time”.
Meanwhile, Toby Cadman, representing crown prosecution on behalf of Indian authorities, had argued that there was a “substantial risk” that the prime accused in the PNB fraud case would flee and attempt to interfere with witnesses and evidence.
After hearing the arguments of both the defence and prosecution teams, 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.
Meanwhile, the hearing on Friday is expected to be procedural unless some new factors are placed before the court to consider. Modi can make a third bail application at Westminster Magistrates’ Court but only if the grounds for the bail plea are substantially different.
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.