Westminster Court’s Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, who was delivering the verdict at the bail hearing of Nirav Modi made a revelation on Friday that the fugitive diamantaire was trying for Vanuatu citizenship. "He was attempting to become a citizen of Vanuatu and that is some way away for someone trying to run businesses, which may indicate he has the interest to move away from India at this important time," the judge said.
On Friday, the court rejected Nirav Modi's bail plea. This is the second time when his bail plea has been rejected by the court. He will remain behind bars as London's Westminster Magistrate court has fixed April 26 as the next date of hearing. In the next hearing, he will be produced through video conferencing.
"Clare's offer is not substantial security in a case where a billion dollars is said to be lost. These are early stages of the case and there are major inconsistencies in some witness statements. Looking at the case as it is today, I do find substantial grounds to believe he would fail to surrender based on his lack of community ties, as his son has gone to the US, and the large resources he could draw on," the judge said.
Indian agency officers were seen showing thumbs up and shaking each other’s hands after the judge refused Modi's bail plea, reports ANI.
While refusing plea of 48-year-old Modi, who faces the possibility of extradition to India, Westminster Magistrates Court Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said 'no sufficient ground for giving conditional bail'.
Earlier, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) - on behalf of Indian authorities – told the court that Modi threatened to kill an eyewitness and tried to bribe another Rs 20 lakh to evade arrest. The CPS also submitted the additional file of evidence in court.
Looking more dishevelled and dressed in a similar white shirt as his first court appearance last week, Modi was brought to the dock to be produced before Arbuthnot and sat behind a glass enclosure as the hearing got underway.
Modi's defence team, led by barrister Clare 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 and stressed that in fact Modi sees UK as a "haven where his case will be fairly considered".