UK court rejects fugitive Nirav Modi’s bail plea citing ‘real, substantial risk’ of absconding

This is the fifth time his bail application has been rejected

Nirav Modi | Amey Mansabdar (File) Nirav Modi | Amey Mansabdar

The UK Westminster Magistrate's Court rejected the bail application of fugitive businessman Nirav Modi on Tuesday. He has been in London prison for over five years. 

The new bail application was rejected by a UK judge citing a "substantial risk" of absconding justice. The bail application was filed on the grounds of long incarceration. 

The 52-year-old diamond merchant was declared a fugitive in December 2019. Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are accused of committing a Rs 14,000 crore scam by obtaining credit facilities fraudulently from the Punjab National Bank. 

Nirav Modi did not appear for the bail hearing at Westminister Magistrates Court in London, however, his son and two daughters were present on his behalf. 

"I am satisfied that there remain substantial grounds against bail. There continues to be a real, substantial risk that the applicant [Nirav Modi] would fail to attend court or interfere with witnesses," Judge Zani was quoted saying in his judgment after a short hearing.

"This case involves, by any footing, a very substantial fraud allegation... not one where bail can be granted and the application is refused," he said.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrived from India for the hearing and followed the proceeding in court. 

The businessman was arrested on an extradition warrant on March 19, 2019, and then UK Home Secretary ordered his extradition in April 2021. Since then, he had exhausted his legal appeals in the case up to the Supreme Court and made six separate bail applications. 

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