Indian economic fugitive Nirav Modi's bail hearing was held on Tuesday at UK High Court (Royal Courts of Justice) in London with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) representing Indian Government and barrister Clare Montgomery representing Modi who is fighting against a lower court's order to deny him bail as he fights his extradition from Britain to India in the nearly $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case.
Judge Ingrid Simler who is hearing the case has reserved the verdict for Wednesday at 10 AM GMT.
After listening to the arguments, the judge has said that while Nirav Modi had a highly designed legal team in place and has a good chance to fail the extradition altogether if he is extradited then he could be arrested at that time. She also added that while he may not have the willingness to escape, he has the means to do so.
When Simlar questioned about Nihal Modi's (brother of Nirav Modi) whereabouts, CPS said that he is currently in the US while confirming the judge's query that Mr. Jethwa is a dummy director.
Arguing for the Indian Government the CPS has made the argument that Modi has been making offers of cash securities to get bail which started from £500,000 which has now gone up to £2 million and has said that Modi should not be given bail at this time as he faces serious charges.
The CPS has also said that if Modi is given bail, it’s possible that evidence can be tampered with.
Countering the CPS, Montgomery who represents Modi has argued that the case made by CPS that he would escape is feeble as white collar crimes have low escape rate adding that his accounts are frozen in Switzerland and elsewhere as after the collapse of 'Firestar', most group assets are held by office holders.
"The reality is that he is not the cold-blooded hardened criminal as claimed by the government of India but a jewellery designer from a long line of diamond dealers, and regarded as being honest careful and reliable," added Montogomery.
She has further argued that the case originally presented in the Westminster that Modi would interfere with witnesses he has detained in Cairo was countered as there was no plan to harm anyone in Cairo. She also suggested that they (witnesses in Cairo) were staying there on their own will.
The 48-year-old, wanted by India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to nearly USD 2 billion in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) case, has been denied bail at three previous attempts at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, as the judge ruled there was "substantial risk" that he would fail to surrender and deemed the bail security offered as insufficient.
Nirav Modi was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers on an extradition warrant from a Metro Bank branch in central London on March 19 and has been in prison since.
During subsequent hearings, Westminster Magistrates' Court was told that Modi was the "principal beneficiary" of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) as part of a conspiracy to defraud PNB and then laundering the proceeds of crime.