UK HC rejects Nirav Modi’s bail plea for the fourth time, says he destroyed evidence
The UK High Court on Wednesday denied bail to fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi on the grounds that he indulged in destruction of evidence and may fail to surrender if granted the relief.
Rejecting the bail plea of Modi, Justice Ingrid Simler at the Royal Courts of Justice observed, “There is evidence that manipulation has occurred and concerted efforts were made to manipulate witnesses.”
Modi, 48, is fighting against his extradition from the UK to India to face the law of the land in the over Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud and money laundering scam case.
“Nirav Modi destroyed phones of the witnesses, which contained data that could have been of importance. In all these circumstances, I believe that there is compelling evidence of destroying evidence,”
Justice Simler said.
The court said there is clear evidence that emails were sent and received using secure servers based in Dubai.
It noted, “Divyesh Gandhi (Modi’s associate), now a witness, has confirmed servers were destroyed in 2018” along with mobile phones.
In the order, Justice Simler observed that Modi has strong means to access funds and hence, can abscond easily.
The court said that there was a rise in Modi’s bail surety amounts starting from 500,000 pounds to 2 million pounds which suggested that he has access to funds.
“He has lived in the U.K. for a short time and has no significant ties here. And for these reasons I have concluded that there are grounds where he may fail to surrender (if granted bail),” it said.
The judge concluded the hearing on Tuesday and pronounced the verdict today.
UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) counsel Nicholas Hearn is representing the Indian government while QC Clare Montgomery is appearing for Modi in the extradition case.
Earlier, his bail plea was rejected thrice by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
He was arrested by Scotland Yard in connection with the PNB loan default case on March 19 this year and has been lodged at the Wandsworth prison in south-west London. (ANI)
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