Nirav Modi denied bail in London court, to stay in jail till March 29

Nirav Modi denied bail in London court, to stay in jail till March 29

London, March 20: Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi was arrested and denied bail at the Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday, setting off another high-profile extradition trial involving large-scale financial irregularities in India, three months after that of businessman Vijay Mallya.
Modi, 48, was arrested by Scotland Yard in the central London area of Holborn on Tuesday on India’s extradition request made in August 2018. He is wanted in India to face allegations of defrauding the Punjab National Bank (PNB) of over Rs 14,000 crore, among other charges.
Modi declared in court his intention to contest the extradition request and offered to pay 500,000 pounds as security deposit for bail. But this was denied due to what the judge called the “high value of amount involved in the allegations” and the likelihood of Modi escaping. He will remain in custody until the next hearing on March 29.
“I have substantial grounds to believe that you may not surrender”, judge Marie Mallon told him.
The trial will be held in the magistrates court over several months, possibly extending more than a year, as it did in the case of Mallya. He was arrested and bailed on April 18, 2017 and the court pronounced its judgement, ordering his extradition, on December 10, 2018.
Scotland Yard said in a statement before Modi was produced in court: “Nirav Deepak Modi, 48 (Date of Birth 24.02.71), was arrested on behalf of the Indian Authorities on Tuesday, 19 March, in Holborn”.
Modi is reported to have sought asylum, but UK officials following a long-standing policy do not confirm or deny an individual’s application. Legal experts say that his arrest suggests that the application, if made, would have been rejected, since granting asylum to a person facing fraud charges in India would be an abuse of process.
Both Modi and Mallya extradition cases relate to loans worth thousands of crores of rupees secured from Indian banks; from a consortium of banks that includes IDBI and SBI in the Mallya case, and the Mumbai branch of the PNB in Modi’s case.
However, there are key differences in the nature of charges of financial impropriety. Mallya’s main contention was that there is no prima facie case against him, since the inability of his Kingfisher Airlines to return loans, according to him, was due to a genuine business failure.
The case was described by the judge as ‘a jigsaw puzzle’, while Mark Summers, lawyer representing India, accused Mallya of ‘three chapters of dishonesty’: misrepresentations made to banks to secure loans, what was done with the loans secured, and what he and his companies did when banks recalled the loans. (Courtesy: HT)