UK court again rejects Nirav Modi’s bail plea

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Diamond trader Nirav Modi tracked down in London's Theatre DistrictA British court on Wednesday extended, till May 30, the judicial custody of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, while rejecting his fourth bail plea as it suspected that he could flee the country and “interfere” with witnesses.

The Westminster Magistrates’ Court ordered the Metropolitan Police to put him under its custody till the next hearing on May 30.

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The 48-year-old businessman, wanted in India in connection with Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, was arrested from Holborn here on March 19. Since then, he has been fighting extradition proceedings.

Nirav Modi was produced before the court via videoconferencing from Wandsworth prison in south-west London.

The businessman and his uncle Mehul Choksi are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation after the PNB alleged that they cheated it of Rs 13,500 crore with the involvement of a few bank employees.

Both fled India before the details of the fraud emerged in January 2018. The ED on February 26, 2018 attached property worth Rs 147 crore of Nirav Modi and his companies in connection with the case.

This is the fourth time when the businessman’s bail was rejected by the court. Nirav Modi’s first bail plea was rejected on the second day of his arrest, and the other two pleas subsequently. 

Judge Emma Arbuthnot on March 29 had granted the Metropolitan Police custody of Nirav Modi. She is the same judge who ordered the extradition of former Kingfisher Airlines boss Vijay Mallya in December.

IANS

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