PNB scam: Nirav Modi sought bail to care for pet dog


World, Europe

Clare Montgomery, Mr Modi’s barrister, made a series of offers to try and convince the judge to grant bail.

Nirav Modi

London: Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi on Friday failed in his second attempt to get bail in his extradition case at Westminster Magistrates’ Court here despite his defence team vehemently trying to establish his close ties to the UK, including having to care for a pet dog.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot declined the bail application of the 48-year-old prime accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case on the grounds that he did pose a “substantial” flight risk and that he lacked “community ties” with the UK.

Clare Montgomery, Mr Modi’s barrister, made a series of offers to try and convince the judge to grant bail.

“He did have a son at Charterhouse [school in London] who has now gone to university in the States and as a sign of ageing parents, led Mr Modi to get a dog instead. None of these actions are emblematic of someone setting out to flee the country,” Ms Montgomery claimed.

“It is nonsense to say that he is a flight risk. He does not have a safe haven open to him and he has not travelled or applied for citizenship elsewhere… he only qualifies for leave to remain in this country,” she added.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian authorities, stressed that Mr Modi posed a significant flight risk and was also likely to further intimidate witnesses and destroy evidence if he were released.

Judge Arbuthnot accepted the Indian government’s arguments, noting the “very unusual” evidence she had seen at this early stage in the case of interference with witnesses and destruction evidence in the form of mobile phones and a server.

Ms Montgomery, who along with Anand Doobay of Boutique Law makes up a very similar defence team as that of former Kingfisher Airlines boss Vijay Mallya in his extradition case against India, told the court that her client was willing to put up 1 million pound as security —doubling of the £500,000 figure offered at the first bail hearing last week.

She also offered to submit to several “stringent conditions”, including Mr Modi wearing an electronic tag to be monitored regularly.

As in the case of Mallya, who was granted bail immediately after his arrest on an extradition warrant in 2017, Ms Montgomery said that Mr Modi would guarantee to keep a mobile phone on him which was charged up and switched on at all times.