In yet another major setback to fugitive billionaire diamantaire Nirav Modi, a top court in London, UK on Wednesday rejected his bail plea in connection with the USD 2 billion PNB scam case. While rejecting his application, district judge Marie Mallon said there are substantial grounds to believe that Nirav Modi would fail to surrender if granted bail. According to reports, the businessman has been sent to HM Prison Wandsworth and will remain in custody of the metropolitan police in London till March 29, when the next hearing in the extradition case will be held.
"Nirav Modi has been sent to HM Prison Wandsworth after his bail plea rejected by London Court. Nirav Modi to be in custody till March 29," the news agency ANI reported.
Nirav Modi has been sent to HM Prison Wandsworth after his bail plea rejected by London Court. Nirav Modi to be in custody till March 29 pic.twitter.com/uFSoXI7NbT— ANI (@ANI) March 20, 2019
In his bail petition, Nirav Modi argued that the charges against him were politically motivated, adding that he was cooperating with the agencies in the probe. However, during the hearing the fraudster has refused consent to his extradition.
The businessman, who is accused of defrauding the state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) with over Rs 13,700 crore, appeared in Westminster court, where the case was allocated to a chief magistrate.
Early in the day, the UK Police arrested Nirav Modi from London's Holborn metro station in the infamous PNB scam case. His arrest comes days after a London court issued an arrest warrant against him in response to a request by the Enforcement Directorate for his extradition in a money laundering case. The case is expected to follow a similar pattern through the UK courts as that of liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, who remains on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April 2017 on fraud and money laundering charges.
The 63-year-old businessman has since filed an application seeking leave to appeal against his extradition ordered by UK home secretary Sajid Javid last month. Javid had certified India's extradition request for Nirav Modi earlier this month, triggering the legal process in the courts, kick-started with the issuance of a warrant.
News of the certification of India's request came just as Modi was tracked down to a three-bedroom flat in the Centre Point tower block of luxury apartments in the West End of London. He is believed to have arrived in London last year and was able to travel in and out of Britain at least four times since his passport was cancelled by the Indian authorities in February 2018.
During some of his stay in London he was reportedly also living in the heart of the city above his jewellery boutique called "Nirav Modi" on Old Bond Street, which has since closed down.
Modi is now believed to be running a new business, which describes itself on the UK's Companies House register as a wholesale trader in watches and jewellery and a retailer of watches and jewellery in specialised stores. Modi, the main accused in the PNB scam, left India before the details of the fraud came to light in January 2018.