The Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday denied bail to fugitive businessman Nirav Modi in an extradition case against him, a day after concluding hearings, ANI reported. This is the fourth time Modi’s plea for bail has been rejected.
Judge Ingrid Simler said there were substantial grounds to believe Modi would fail to surrender, PTI reported. The judge said the businessman might interfere with witnesses and obstruct justice.
Modi was arrested in London on March 19 for allegedly duping India’s Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore. Modi’s arrest had come days after an arrest warrant was issued by authorities in London. He has been lodged at the Wandsworth prison in London since his third attempt at seeking bail was rejected earlier this month at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court. On May 31, the court extended his custody till June 27.
On Tuesday, Modi’s advocate Clare Montgomery reiterated many of the arguments that were put forward during previous bail attempts in the Westminister Magistrates’ Court. “Modi is not [Wikileaks co-founder] Julian Assange who sought refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy, but just an ordinary Indian jeweller,” she told the court. “There is no evidence to show that he would do the prohibitive things listed [such as interfere with witnesses].”
Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service, arguing on behalf of the Indian government, said Modi should not be granted bail at this stage as he poses a significant flight risk and has the funds to flee to another country where India does not have an extradition treaty.
The prosecutor also pointed out that the amount of bail bond offered by Modi was continuously rising, indicating that he possibly has money to fund his escape. “The way he has carried out frauds, he knew this day was coming,” Hearn said. “He [Modi] has been making offers of cash securities to get bail, which started from £500,000 [Rs 4.41 crore] and has now gone up to £2 million [Rs 17.65 crore].”
The prosecutor said that though Modi’s legal team tried to present the case as a commercial matter, the investigations carried out by Indian agencies prove that it is a serious criminal case.