London: Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi’s bail application was rejected by Westminster Magistrate court in London on Friday. The next date of hearing has been scheduled for April 26 in which Nirav Modi will be produced through video conferencing. Soon after the second bail plea was rejected, Indian agency officers were seen showing thumbs up and shaking each other’s hands in London’s Westminster Magistrates’ court, reported ANI.
Toby Cadman, representing the crown prosecution on behalf of the Indian authorities in London’s Westminster Magistrate court, to ANI, “In case Nirav Modi gets bail, we will appeal against it in the High Court. We will do everything to keep him in.” Later, Toby Cadman in final submission at London’s Westminster Magistrate court said, “Nirav Modi isn’t cooperating with Indian agencies&there’s risk he’ll fly out. There’s risk that he’ll influence witnesses & destroy evidence.”
The 48-year-old diamond merchant was denied bail by District Judge Marie Mallon at his first hearing which took place soon after the Scotland Yard officers arrested him from a central London bank branch on March 19 when he tried to open a new bank account. Modi has been in custody at the HMP Wandsworth prison in south-west London since last Wednesday.
Last week, during his first court appearance after his arrest, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) argued on behalf of the Indian authorities. CPS told the court that Modi is wanted for alleged “high value and sophisticated” fraud and money laundering to the tune of USD 2 billion.
The CPS will be joined in court by a joint Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) team that has arrived from India to assist with the extradition case.
Describing him as the “opposite of a flight risk” during the first bail application hearing last week, Modi’s defence team had offered 500,000 pounds as security and also submitted to any stringent conditions that may be imposed upon their client.
During his first court appearance a day after, it emerged that the diamantaire, accused of defrauding India’s state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) via fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs), had been in possession of multiple passports since revoked by the Indian authorities. Besides, Modi also possesses multiple residency cards, some of them expired, but covering countries/regions such as the UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The CPS challenged all claims to counter the first bail plea and pointed out that Modi had “deliberately evaded justice” and not returned to India despite a series of criminal summons issued by Indian courts.
(With agency inputs)