Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi applied for bail in the UK High Court, a day after his remand was extended till June 27. Modi, the kingpin of the PNB scam is wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering to the tune of $2 billion. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that represents India in the extradition case said that the hearing of his bail plea will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on June 11.
Modi has been denied bail on all the previous three attempts at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London. The judges ruled that the bail security offered was insufficient and that there was 'substantial risk' that he would fail to surrender.
During the last bail hearing on May 8, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said, "This is a large fraud and the doubling of security to 2 million pounds is not sufficient to cover a combination of concerns that he would fail to surrender."
After the third application earlier this month, Modi had the automatic right to file an application in the higher court. "Mr Modi can appeal to the High Court as of right. He does not need leave to appeal," a spokesperson said.
As per Modi's legal team, his experience at Wandsworth prison in South-West London has been 'damaging'. They offered electronic tag and other conditions akin to house arrest at his posh Centrepoint apartment in the West End of London instead.
"His experience in custody has been vivid and damaging... he is willing to abide by any bail conditions imposed by the court because Wandsworth is unliveable and makes the effective preparation of his case virtually impossible," his barrister Clare Montgomery had told Judge Arbuthnot.
At the most recent case management hearing in the Westminster Magistrates' Court this week, the issue of bail was not discussed and Modi was further remanded in judicial custody until June 27, when he is scheduled to appear via videolink.
A UK High Court verdict on his bail appeal could now impact that next hearing date.
At the hearing on Thursday, Judge Arbuthnot directed the Indian government to confirm which prison Modi is to be held in if he were to be extradited to India, setting a 14-day deadline for a confirmation of the prison plans in India.
Arbuthnot, who ordered the extradition of liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya in December 2018, had sought a video of the exact cell at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai in which the former Kingfisher Airlines boss is to be held. She therefore indicated that if Modi was to be lodged within the same premises, the court would most likely not have any objections.
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