London: The Westminster Magistrate's Court in the United Kingdom on Friday rejected the second bail application of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had told the court that Modi should not be granted bail because he posed a significant flight risk and had even issued death threats to witnesses related to his fraud and money laundering case.
The 48-year-old diamond merchant was denied bail by District Judge Marie Mallon at his first hearing soon after his arrest by Scotland Yard officers from a central London bank branch as he tried to open a new bank account and has been in custody at the HMP Wandsworth prison in south-west London since last Wednesday. The next hearing is on 26 April.
Toby Cadman, representing crown prosecution on behalf of Indian authorities, in final submission at London's Westminster Magistrate court said, Nirav Modi isn't cooperating with Indian agencies and there's risk he will fly out.
He said, in case Nirav Modi gets bail, we will appeal against it in the High Court. We will do everything to keep him in.
At his first court appearance after his arrest last week, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian authorities, told the court that Modi is wanted for alleged "high value and sophisticated" fraud and money laundering amounting to $2 billion.
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.
Modi was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers from a Metro Bank branch in central London as he attempted to open a new bank account on March 19. 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.
While one passport is now in possession of the Metropolitan Police, a second expired passport is lying with the UK Home Office and a third with the UK's Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) for a driver's licence.
Besides the passports, Modi also possesses multiple residency cards, some of them expired, but covering countries/regions such as the UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong.
His defence team tried to establish his very "visible" and "lawful" residence at his luxury Centre Point apartment in London's West End, paying his local council tax and also using a National Insurance number, allocated to legal UK residents for purposes of work.
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 PTI inputs)
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Updated Date: Mar 29, 2019 20:55:22 IST