As his bail application was rejected by the UK court for the fifth time, the fugitive businessman Nirav Modi threatened a UK court on Wednesday claiming that he would kill himself if his extradition to India is ordered.
Reportedly, the 49-year-old multi-crore scam accused appeared before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court with his barrister Hugo Keith QC, who made a fifth bail application. However, the UK court rejected his bail plea yet again despite he had offered an “unprecedented bail package”, including 4-million pounds in security and also a house arrest similar to those imposed on terrorist suspects.
Nirav Modi’s lawyer Keith has claimed that the accused has been beaten up twice in Wandsworth prison in April and most recently on Tuesday.
“Just after 9 am yesterday, two inmates entered his cell and while holding the door shut, punched him, pushed him to the floor, kicked him and made extortion attempts on him whilst he was on the phone to a colleague. It was a targeted attack probably brought about by the renewed media coverage [of the case],” he said referring to parts of a confidential doctor’s report on Nirav’s depression leaked to the press.
The lawyer claimed that the prison service failed to respond to the assaults and Nirav’s request to see a counsellor was also denied. Nirav Modi has wrongly been called a ‘billionaire diamantaire’ in the press so such assaults will happen again, Keith said.
In evidence submitted to the court, Nirav said he would kill himself if his extradition to India was ordered and expressed his apprehension that he would not get a fair trial in India.
To avoid extradition to India, Nirav’s barrister suggested that jail-like conditions akin to suspected terrorists to be given to Nirav Modi, paid by himself, whereby visitors will be allowed to visit him from 9 am to 9 pm. The barrister suggested that Nirav Modi could be kept under 24-hour security cameras in his house and 12-hour security guards and restrictions could be put on his phone and computer, claiming that Nirav Modi was facing “enormous difficulties preparing his defence from jail”.
Denying bail once again, chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said she fears that Nirav Modi would abscond or could interfere with witnesses and destroy evidence. The next hearing is scheduled on December 4.
Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi, brother Nishal Modi, and uncle Mehul Choksi are accused of defrauding Punjab National Bank to the tune of Rs 14,356 crore by obtaining Letter of Undertaking without furnishing any guarantee.