London: A court here on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, wanted in India in the Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case despite making an offer of doubling the bail package from two million pounds to four million pounds in security.
The 48-year-old businessman, who was arrested from Holborn here on March 19 and is fighting extradition proceedings since then was produced before Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for bail.
After the court hearing, Nirav Modi was taken back to Wandsworth prison in south-west London and will next appear via videolink before the same court on December 4.
“The past is a prediction of what might happen in the future,” said Judge Arbuthnot, as she concluded that she remains unconvinced that he would not interfere with witnesses or fail to surrender before the court for his trial in May 2020.
She also noted that the confirmation that Modi is suffering from “depression” is not such that would influence her to change her previous ruling to deny bail.
Nirav Modi’s counsel Hugo Keith pointed out change in circumstances in doubling the security offered to the court, from the previous 2 million pounds to 4 million pounds and also a privately-paid guard service to ensure constant monitoring alongside electronic tagging.
During the hearing of the bail plea, the judge was criticial of the alleged leak of Modi’s medical report by a British doctor in India, saying it was “unfortunate.”
Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of the Geetanjali Group 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 some bank employees.
Modi also faces charges under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act. The ED has filed a chargesheet against Choksi in a Prevention of Money Laundering Act Court in Mumbai.