In a massive setback to fugitive Diamond Merchant Nirav Modi, a UK court on Thursday rejected his bail plea for the fifth time. Modi, who has been serving in UK jail since March last year, has been fighting his extradition to India on charges over nearly $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case.
The bail rejection comes at a time when the Enforcement Directorate of India is all set to auction Nirav Modi's assets. India had objected to Nirav's bail petition saying that he might influence the witnesses in the case if released on bail.
On 19 March 2019, Nirav Modi was held in London after an arrest warrant was issued against him. Later that month, Indian tax authorities raised $8m by auctioning some of Modi's art collection. Modi applied for bail in the UK High Court on May 31, a day after his remand was extended till June 27.
Modi had also objected to the extradition plea filed by Indian investigative agencies saying that if he returns to India, his life would be under threat.
The 49-year-old, who has been lodged at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London and is scheduled for an extradition trial in May 2020, made his fifth attempt at getting bail on the basis of a change in circumstances.
However, the High Court in London rejected his bail plea. Modi was arrested on March 19, 2019, on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard on charges brought by the Indian government.