Nirav Modi denied bail for fourth time, UK court says he may influence investigation
A UK High Court on Wednesday denied bail to fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi.
Rejecting his bail plea for the fourth time, the court said it has evidence that Nirav Modi might obstruct the probe.
"Compelling evidence that applicant and those acting on his behalf have acted to influence witnesses. There is evidence of destruction of evidence. Interference and obstruction may occur," the judge said on Wednesday.
The UK High Court on Tuesday had heard Nirav Modi's appeal against a lower court's order to deny him bail as he fights his extradition from Britain to India in the nearly $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case.
Modi's legal team had earlier repeated many of its assertions from previous three bail pleas before Westminster Magistrates' Court to claim that the 48-year-old diamond merchant did not pose a "substantial" flight risk, as claimed by the Indian government.
"Modi is not (Wikileaks c-founder) Julian Assange who sought refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy, but just an ordinary Indian jeweller. There is no evidence to show that he would do the prohibitive things listed [such as interfere with witnesses]," Modi's barrister had said.
Nirav Modi has already been denied bail at three previous attempts at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, as the judge ruled there was substantial risk that he would fail to surrender and deemed the bail security offered as insufficient.
NIrav Modi, who has remained behind bars in judicial custody since his arrest in March, had the automatic right to file an application in the higher court and did not require permission to appeal.
At the first case management hearing in the case at Westminster Magistrates' Court in May, the issue of bail was not raised and Modi was further remanded in judicial custody until June 27, when he is scheduled to appear via videolink.