Business Standard

'Nirav Modi may destroy evidence or flee justice if granted bail'


ANI Europe
Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi may destroy evidence and try to bribe and threaten potential witnesses, said Toby Cadman, who is representing Crown prosecution on behalf of the Indian authorities, on Friday (local time) at the Westminster Magistrates' Court during the hearing on Modi's bail plea.
Cadman said that considering the scale of the fraud and the likely sentence that Nirav Modi would face, the fugitive businessman should not be granted bail. He added that there's a real danger that he would flee justice.
He further argued that telephone records relating to the fraud have been destroyed in India at the behest of Nirav Modi. "Potential witnesses have also been threatened by the diamantaire."
"He has the resources and intent to settle in a jurisdiction that may not be willing to extradite him to India," Cadman said.
"Given the nature of the charges and his willingness to interfere in the process of justice, he should not be granted bail and would flee justice. Despite the fact that the defence will argue that he will not do any such thing because of the 'intense media scrutiny' of the case," he argued.
The hearing has been adjourned for lunch and will now resume after an hour.
Nirav Modi's attorney Claire Montgomery argued that the businessman has a right to bail, despite the magnitude of the numbers. She argued that Modi is not a "threat" and has no connections with the "underworld."
"The reality is that the nature and size of these allegations is not a safe judgement that he will flea. He has remained in the UK since the fraud allegations were made in India," she stated, alleging that he had come to Britain to establish his business.
"He has been here since January 2018 and has not taken the opportunity to run away...He has made sure he remains here in a highly visible way," she said.
Before the hearing commenced, Cadman told ANI, "In case Nirav Modi gets bail, we will appeal against it in the High Court. We will do everything to keep him in."
India is seeking Nirav Modi's extradition to make him face the law of the land for allegedly committing economic offences like fraud and money laundering to the tune of US $ 2 billion.
A joint team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials arrived here on March 28 for the hearing.
This will be Nirav Modi's second attempt at securing a bail after his first request was turned down on March 20. Judge Marie Mallon had cited the "high value of amount involved in the allegations" as the reason behind the rejection of his bail plea.
Presiding over Modi's bail request is Judge Emma Arbuthnot, who in December last year ordered for Vijay Mallya's extradition to India to face charges of causing a loss of Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of banks.
Also present in the court today is Chetan Choksi, brother of Mehul Choksi, who is accused of defrauding ICICI bank's UK branch of US $25 million back in 2013. Chetan Choksi is the owner of Antwerp-based diamond dealer Diminco NV.

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First Published: Mar 29 2019 | 7:49 PM IST

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