In a gigantic jolt, the Westminster Magistrates Court in London has denied bail to diamantaire Nirav Modi and scheduled the next hearing in May 30.
Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, undergoing extradition proceedings in the UK in the USD 1-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case appeared before a London court for a remand hearing on Friday.
The 48-year-old, who has been behind bars at Wandsworth prison in south-west London since his arrest last month, was produced through a video link from the jail before the judge in the London court.
The hearing followed after his bail was rejected by Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot on March 29 on the grounds that there was a "substantial risk he would fail to surrender".
"This is a case of substantial fraud, with loss to a bank in India of between USD 1-2 billion. I am not persuaded that the conditional bail sought will meet the concerns of the government of India in this case," Judge Arbuthnot had noted in her ruling.
Previously, Modi's legal team, including solicitor Anand Doobay and barrister Clare Montgomery, had offered 1 million pounds as security alongside an offer to meet stringent electronic tag restrictions on their client's movements, "akin to house arrest".
The diamond dealer's "lack of community ties" in the UK and an attempt to acquire the citizenship of Vanuatu - a remote island country located in the South Pacific Ocean - in late 2017 went against him as the judge said it seemed like he was trying to "move away from India at an important time".
CPS barrister Toby Cadman had argued that there was a substantial risk that the prime accused in the PNB fraud case would flee and attempt to interfere with witnesses and evidence.
"Due to the nature of his business he has at his disposal diamonds gold and pearls," Cadman told the court.
During the course of the hearing last month, it emerged that Modi had made death threats to witnesses and also attempted to destroy evidence such as mobile phones and a server holding "material critical to the fraud".
(With PTI inputs)