Nirav Modi to remain in custody as his legal team fails to make further bail application

Vidya Ram London | Updated on April 26, 2019

Nirav Modi

Next hearing in extradition proceedings on May 24

Nirav Modi will remain in custody till the next hearing in extradition proceedings against him on May 24, as his legal team failed to make a further application for bail before the court.

During the brief procedural hearing, Modi – the main accused in the $2-billion Punjab National Bank fraud case – appeared by video link from Wandsworth Prison in south London. Emma Arbuthnot, the Chief Magistrate of Westminster Court has set May 24 for the next procedural hearing (he has to be produced before the court every four weeks), and May 30 for the first case management hearing, for which Modi will be brought to the court in person.

There was no further attempt to push for bail, following the unsuccessful application made before Judge Arbuthnot in March, at which the prosecution had accused Modi of threatening to kill a witness, and destroying evidence in an effort to curtail his case. Judge Arbuthnot had accepted the arguments, saying she was denying bail because of the risk he would fail to surrender to the court and his lack of community ties.

Modi would have been entitled to make a third bail application if there had been a substantial change in circumstances for the application. However, no such application was made during the hearing. Modi has also so far failed to lodge an appeal at the High Court, which would have provided another avenue for him to attempt to gain bail. There is no time limit on this application though.

Modi has been remanded at HM Wandsworth, one of Europe’s largest and most overcrowded prisons. His case took an unexpected turn in March, after police arrested him following a tip-off by an Indian-origin bank clerk at a bank in central London, who had recognised him following the wave of publicity around the case. His legal team had been in touch with the Metropolitan Police’s Extradition Unit to arrange for him to hand himself over voluntarily by appointment the following week.

Last year, the inspectorate of prisons in the UK published a scathing inspection report on conditions in the prison, in which it warned about issues ranging from the availability of illicit drugs, limited places for activities, which meant that many prisoners remained locked in cells during the working day, and overcrowded conditions that meant that cells designed for one were often occupied by two. An action plan for improvement has since been set.

Published on April 26, 2019

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