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Court denies Nirav Modi’s offer of £1mn deposit

The Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday rejected an offer by Nirav Modi’s legal team furnish security deposit of £1 million and follow stringent conditions to secure bail.

india Updated: Mar 30, 2019 22:31 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Nirav Modi,Fugitive diamantaire,Westminster Magistrates Court
Nirav Modi was denied bail for the second time since his arrest on March 19.(Twitter@Telegraph)

The legal team defending fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi on Friday offered to furnish a security deposit of £1 million and follow stringent conditions to secure bail at the Westminster Magistrates Court, but it was denied for the second time.

The court was told Modi could wear an electronic tag, which operates on GPS technology, enabling the police to track the location of the wearer, and carry at all times a fully charged and functioning mobile phone, besides surrendering visas to various countries that he held.

However, chief judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected the team’s arguments and denied him bail until the next hearing on April 26, when he is due to appear in court via video link.

Modi’s team, led by barrister Clare Montgomery, mentioned Modi having a dog, and told the judge that he had the same right to bail as any UK national in a domestic case. Modi, she added, did not have a history of criminal conduct, neither did he have links with the underworld.

However, the judge ruled that given Modi’s weak ties to the UK, the serious nature of India’s allegations of fraud against him and high value of fraud she accepted the prosecution’s arguments to deny bail, even though there are some “inconsistencies” in the paperwork submitted by Indian agencies.

Toby Cadman, barrister representing India, raised the prospect of Modi fleeing, influencing witnesses and destroying evidence in the case, as officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and the Indian high commission followed the proceedings closely.

The hearing began with some banter about a ‘sense of déjà vu’, since it is the same judge and the defence lawyer (Montgomery) who figured in the extradition trial of businessman Vijay Mallya; Arbuthnot ordered his extradition in December 2018.

The judge wondered if Modi might be lodged in the same cell as Mallya in the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.

First Published: Mar 30, 2019 19:51 IST