London: The UK High Court on Wednesday rejected Nirav Modi’s bail application, his fourth attempt as the diamond merchant fights his extradition from Britain to India in the nearly $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case.
In her judgment handed down at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Justice Ingrid Simler concluded there are “substantial grounds” to believe that the 48-year-old fugitive diamantaire would fail to surrender as he does possess the means to “abscond”.
Reiterating similar concerns as those raised by the lower court in the UK during previous bail hearings, Judge Simler ruled that after considering all the material “carefully”, she had found strong evidence to suggest there had been interference with witnesses and destruction of evidence in the case and concluded it can still occur.
“The applicant has access to considerable financial resources, supported by an increased (bail bond security) offer of 2 million pounds,” the Judge noted. “It is difficult, in my judgement, to see how the UK is a safe haven as there is no case of him being tried here… There are still places in the world one can escape to, which are an even safer haven,” she said, countering Modi’s lawyers’ assertion that he did not have any incentive to flee the UK.
The judge said while it was not for her to take a “definitive view” on the evidence, she proceeded on the basis that the Indian Government has acted in good faith in what is “undoubtedly” a serious case and a “sophisticated international conspiracy” to defraud together with money laundering....