Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi was denied bail by a UK court on Wednesday for the fourth time in his extradition case to India to face charges in the Punjab National Bank fraud and money laundering case amounting to up to USD 2 billion.
Rejecting his bail application, Justice Ingrid Simler at the Royal Courts of Justice said there are “substantial grounds” to believe that the 48-year-old would fail to surrender as he does possess the means to “abscond”.
While delivering the judgment, Justice Simler said she had found strong evidence to suggest there had been interference with witnesses and destruction of evidence in the case and concluded it can still occur.
“The applicant has access to considerable financial resources, supported by an increased [bail bond security] offer of 2 million pounds,” the Judge noted. “It is difficult, in my judgement, to see how the UK is safe haven as there is no case of him being tried here…There are still places in world one can escape to which are an even safer haven from Indian investigating authorities,” she said, countering Modi’s lawyers’ assertion that he did not have any incentive to flee the UK as he sees it as a safe haven of justice.
Modi’s bail had been rejected thrice before by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, with the judge ruling there was “substantial risk” that he would fail to surrender and deemed the bail security offered as insufficient.
Modi, who was arrested by Scotland Yard officers on an extradition warrant from a Metro Bank branch in central London on March 19, remains in custody at Wandsworth prison. He is due to appear for his next remand hearing via videolink on June 27.
With PTI inputs