Embattled Nirav Modi has suffered yet another legal set-back , a UK court yet again rejected a bail plea of the fugitive diamond merchant on Wednesday despite an offer of an “unprecedented bail package”, which included 4-million pounds in security as well as house arrest akin to those imposed on terrorist suspects, according to a report by PTI.
Nirav Modi was taken back to Wandsworth prison in south-west London and will next appear via videolink before the same court on 4 December
The 48-year-old diamond merchant, who is fighting extradition to India on charges of nearly $ 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, was produced before Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London for his fourth attempt at bail.
“The past is a prediction of what might happen in the future,” said Judge Arbuthnot, as she concluded that she remains unconvinced that he would not interfere with witnesses or fail to surrender before the court for his trial in May 2020.
She also noted that the confirmation that Modi is suffering from “depression” is not such that would influence her to change her previous ruling to deny bail.
She, however, was extremely critical of “appalling” leaks to the Indian media last month associated with Modi’s latest bail application, which referred to his mental health condition from a confidential medical report.
James Lewis, appearing for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the Indian government, stressed that the leak was “deplorable” but did not come from the Indian side.
He challenged the fresh bail application on the grounds that there had been no material change in circumstances from the previous three occasions and stressed that Modi continued to possess the means and intention to flee the UK.
“He has said he will kill himself if his extradition is ordered, that in itself is the strongest motivation for someone to abscond,” noted Lewis.
Modi’s barrister, Hugo Keith, argued a change in circumstances in the doubling of the security offered to the court, from the previous 2 million pounds to 4 million pounds and also a privately-paid guard service to ensure constant monitoring alongside electronic tagging.
Besides his client’s mental state in Wandsworth prison, he informed the court, according to a report in The Times of India. of an extortion attack earlier when two inmates entered his cell and kicked him to the floor and punched him in the face.
“It is obvious that it was a targeted attack following renewed media coverage recently in which Modi is wrongly referred to as a billionaire diamantaire,” said Keith, accusing the Indian government of having “thoroughly blackened” Modi’s name as a “world-class schemer”.