Nirav Modi, the fugitive diamond merchant, has been denied bail for the third time on Wednesday by the UK court. The case filed is for his extradition to India to face charges in the Punjab National Bank fraud and money laundering of up to USD 2 billion. It is reported that he will continue to serve time in a London jail, which is lawyers describe as ‘unliveable.’
After his bail plea got rejected twice by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, Nirav Modi filed his third plea before the Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, who rejected the plea and ruled that she still had concerns if he would fail to surrender before the court again. In her ruling, Judge Arbuthnot said, "This is a large fraud and the doubling of security to 2 million pounds is not sufficient to cover a combination of concerns that he would fail to surrender (if bail is granted).”
The next hearing for the case will commence on May 30, which was also the date scheduled previously for a case management hearing in his extradition case. Nirav Modi, since his arrest in March, has been lodged at the Wandsworth prison in southwest London. ” His experience in custody has been vivid and damaging…he is willing to abide by any bail conditions imposed by the court because Wandsworth is unliveable and makes the effective preparation of his case virtually impossible,” said Clare Montgomery, Modi’s barrister.
Montgomery further added that the government of India’s efforts to present Modi as a cold-blooded, hardened criminal is completely false. However, the judge said, “Given the nature of the crime of sizeable fraud and that USD 60 million has been squirrelled away by him personally…the interference of witnesses, destruction of servers and mobile phones…combined with a lack of community ties mean I still have doubts that he would fail to surrender. “
Scotland Yard officers arrested Nirav Modi on March 19th in London. The court, at subsequent hearings, claimed that Modi, as part of a conspiracy to defraud PNB and laundering the money, was a ‘principal beneficiary’ of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs).