London: In a major setback to fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, a UK court on Monday again rejected his bail plea – for the seventh time.
According to CBI officials, prior to this, the bail applications of Nirav Modi has been rejected six times, four by the District Judge and twice by the High Court.
The District Judge rejected Nirav Modi’s bail plea on March 20, March 29, May 8 and November 6 last year while the UK High Court rejected Nirav Modi’s bail plea on June 12, 2018 and March 5 this year.
Nirav Modi, who is wanted in India by Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case and has been at London’s Wandsworth Prison since his arrest on last year, will appear before a court next month, via video-link, for the second phase of his extradition trial.
Last month, the UK court has extended the remand of the diamantaire till the next scheduled hearing in his ongoing extradition trial on November 3.
Nirav Modi, who is being investigated by CBI for causing loss to the tune of Rs 6,498 crore to PNB is also facing additional charges of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses or “criminal intimidation to cause death”.
The CBI and ED, seeking Nirav Modi’s extradition to India, are being represented by the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK. The fugitive businessman has applied for political asylum in UK.
A CBI official in Delhi, wishing not to be named, said that repeated rejection of bail pleas of Nirav Modi is a result of excellent coordination between the CBI, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Crown Prosecution Service.
In July this year, the ED confiscated the fugitive diamantaire’s properties worth Rs 329.66 crore in Mumbai, Rajasthan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UK. The movable and immovable assets were seized under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
The assets included four flats at Samudra Mahal, the iconic building in south Mumbai’s Worli, a seaside farm house and land in Alibaug, a wind mill in Jaisalmer, a flat in London, some flats in the UAE, shares and bank deposits. On December 5, 2019, the court declared him a fugitive economic offender.
Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of the Geetanjali Group are being investigated by the two agencies after the PNB alleged that they cheated it of Rs 13,500 crore with the involvement of some bank employees.
The ED has filed a charge sheet against Choksi in a Prevention of Money Laundering Act Court in Mumbai.
India is currently making efforts to extradite Nirav Modi from the UK and his uncle Choksi from Antigua and Barbuda where he is now a citizen.