Nirav Modi's custody ends today; London court to set aside date for his extradition trial
The judicial custody of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who is lodged in the London jail in the Rs 13,700-crore Punjab National Bank fraud, will get over today. The UK court had earlier rejected four bail pleas of the fugitive Indian businessman after India sought his extradition and told the court that he might abscond from the country. In the previous hearing, the UK court had asked the Indian government to confirm where he would be lodged if extradited to India. During a hearing scheduled for today, Nirav Modi will appear through video conferencing, and the court could also set aside a date for his extradition trial.
After filing the fourth bail application in the case on June 11, Modi's counsel Clare Montgomery pleaded before Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot at Westminster Magistrates' Court, London, that white-collar crimes had low escape rate, and that his bank accounts were frozen. The magistrate, however, said that Modi might not have the "willingness" but he had the "means" to flee from the clutches of law.
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service team, represented by barrister Nick Hearn from Furnival Chambers, had opposed the Modi's bail application on the grounds that Modi had in the past made death threats to witnesses and also attempted to destroy evidence in the case. The team had informed the court that he had made attempts to acquire the citizenship of Vanuatu -- a remote island in the South Pacific Ocean -- in late 2017, and could do it again.
Modi's legal team, led by solicitor Anand Doobay, has offered 1 million pounds as security alongside an offer to meet stringent electronic tag restrictions on their client's movements, "akin to house arrest". Modi was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers in central London on March 19.
Edited by Manoj Sharma