UK court denies bail to Nirav Modi for third time

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LONDON: Nirav 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.

A UK court on Wednesday denied bail to diamantaire Nirav Modi for the third time even though he offered to furnish security deposit of 2 million pounds and follow strict conditions such as a 24-hour curfew.

Modi, who is facing an extradition request from India, has been twice denied bail by the Westminster Magistrates Court after his arrest in March.

Clare Montgomery, lawyer for Modi, described conditions in the Wandsworth jail where he is lodged as “difficult, vivid and damaging”, but chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot rejected grounds cited to seek bail, saying she continued to have concerns if bail is granted.

Arbuthnot, however, agreed that the offer to double the security deposit from 1 million pounds amounted to a “change of circumstances” which is necessary to prove to apply for bail after it has been refused. Modi was twice denied bail on March 20 and 29, when the 1 million pound-deposit was offered.

The judge’s concerns were about $60 million allegedly “squirreled” away by Modi, to which he would have access, his lack of links to the United Kingdom, where he has been since the end of 2017, and the likelihood of he or his associates intimidating witnesses and destroying evidence.

The extradition trial is due to begin on May 30, by when the Indian government is expected to furnish more details and evidence of allegations against Modi, who is facing charges of what prosecuting lawyer Nicholas Hearn said “direct embezzlement” of funds derived from a Mumbai branch of the Punjab National Bank.