The Westminster Magistrates Court has rejected the bail plea by fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi. After a four-hour long hearing on Friday, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot refused to release Modi on bail. This is the second time Modi's bail plea has been turned down since his arrest last week.
The hearing will resume on April 26. In the meantime, Modi will return to HMP Wandsworth Prison. He will appear in front of the court through video conferencing on the next date.
Toby Cadman of Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), representing the Indian authorities in the case, argued to keep Modi behind bars on the grounds that he was likely to flee if set free. He also told the court that Modi has not cooperated with the police in any way.
In his final submission to the Westminster Magistrates court, Cadman reportedly said that there is a risk that Modi will interfere with witnesses and destroy evidence. The prosecutor told the court that Modi made death threats to witness Ashish Lad and tried to bribe Rs 20 lakh to another in order to evade arrest, reports suggest.
The CPS also submitted a list of witnesses and their statements to the court. The prosecution also told the court that Modi has travelled to several countries in the past despite his passport being cancelled by the Indian authorities. The CPS said that the fugitive businessman has shown interest in getting citizenship in Pacific which has no extradition treaty with India.
On the other hand, Nirav Modi was represented by Claire Montgomery, Vijay Mallya's lawyer during his extradition proceedings at the Westminster Magistrates Court. On the first hearing, Modi's legal team had offered to pay 500,000 pounds as security and accept any stringent conditions to secure his release. As expected, this offer was further elevated today.
On the second hearing, Modi's counsel accepted electronic tag monitoring and house arrest as conditions to get her client out of prison on bail. The suggestions included round-the-clock electronic tag monitoring, regular reporting to the police station, and a special phone that could be accessed by the authorities. The defence reiterated that Modi has been living in London for long without trying to hide, and will not flee if released.
Earlier today, Indian agencies submitted fresh evidence against Modi to the CPS before the hearing. This was to build a stronger case against him and keep him from getting bail. A joint team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers was also present at Nirav Modi's hearing, who reportedly welcomed the court's decision today enthusiastically.ALSO READ:Bombay HC seeks I-T Dept's reply on plea against auction of Nirav Modi's paintings