07 Nov 2019
If extradited to India, I will kill myself: Nirav Modi
Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, who is lodged in a prison in UK, wants to be released. And now, that his bail pleas have been junked repeatedly, he has taken to threats.
In his latest application submitted to UK court, Modi said he will end his life if he's extradited to India.
His statement worked against him and the court rejected his fifth bail request.
Who is Nirav Modi? What has he done?
The fugitive headed Nirav Modi jewels, one of the most luxurious diamond brands. But in early 2018, Punjab National Bank (PNB) revealed that he, and his uncle Mehul Choksi, committed fraud to the tune of Rs. 13,700 crore.
Before the scam was reported, he fled India.
Choksi took refuge in Antigua, from where he could be extradited soon, and Modi went to the UK.
Arrested in March, Modi's repeated bail pleas have been junked
Modi was arrested in the UK only after a Telegraph journalist tracked him down. It was revealed that he had started a new business there.
However, since his arrest in March, Modi hasn't got any relief. His latest request for bail was rejected by Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot of Westminster Magistrates' Court.
She remained convinced that Modi would not interfere with witnesses.
Arbuthnot said Modi's past behavior is shady
Wearing a white shirt and blue sweater, Modi was brought to court from Wandsworth prison and later taken to the same facility.
He will now appear before the court via video link on December 4.
Refusing to provide any respite to Modi, Arbuthnot said, "The past is a prediction of what might happen in the future."
Notably, his extradition trial will begin next year.
Unfortunate that Modi's health report was leaked: Judge
The judge, however, slammed talks around Modi's health condition.
While making a case for being shifted to house arrest, Modi claimed he was suffering from anxiety and depression. This bit of information was widely covered by Indian media and Arbuthnot called it "unfortunate".
She said this development will "undermine" trust in the Indian side if it's proved that the leak happened at their behest.
Indian side didn't plan the leak, contested lawyer
Subsequently, James Lewis, who represented Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said Indian agencies were not involved with the leak.
Opposing the bail request, he said nothing has changed and Modi still has the means to abscond.
"He has said he will kill himself if his extradition is ordered, that in itself is the strongest motivation for someone to abscond," he told the court.
Meanwhile, Modi's lawyer said he isn't safe inside jail
On the other hand, Modi's counsel Hugo Keith said circumstances have changed citing that bail security has been doubled from 2 million pounds to 4 million pounds.
He informed that Modi was attacked by two inmates.
"It is obvious that it was a targeted attack following renewed media coverage recently in which Nirav Modi is wrongly referred to as a billionaire diamantaire," he said.
However, judge showed leniency to help Modi prepare his defense
To note, Modi's lawyer also claimed that since he is lodged in an isolated cell for 22 hours every day, he hasn't been able to prepare a defense for himself.
On this, the judge said she can ask prison authorities to give Modi access to a computer.
But that's the only respite which Arbuthnot offered, before re-sending Modi to the prison in south-west London.