A UK court Wednesday denied bail to Nirav Modi for the third time, saying the fugitive diamond merchant who is the main accused in the Punjab National Bank fraud and money laundering case amounting to up to USD 2 billion would fail to surrender.
Modi’s defence team doubled the bail security to 2 million pounds and offered he would stay on 24-hour curfew at his London flat.
“Conditions in Wandsworth (prison) are unliveable… Modi is willing to abide by any conditions you choose to impose,” his barrister Clare Montgomery told the Judge during the lengthy hearing.
However, the judge was not convinced.
“This is a large fraud and the doubling of security to 2 million pounds is not enough to cover a combination of concerns that he would fail to surrender (if bail is granted),” said Judge Arbuthnot.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of Indian authorities, said Modi should not be granted bail as the evidence presented by the defence does not amount to change of circumstances required to third bail application.
Modi’s defence team, led by barrister Motgomery – who was also the barrister for former Kingfisher Airlines boss Vijay Mallya in his extradition case – opposed the CPS claims of Modi being a flight risk.
Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, are the main accused in the PNB scam and they both left India before the details of the fraud came to light in January 2018. He is wanted by India in relation to the Rs 13,500-crore PNB fraud case.