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Nirav Modi hearing: India opposes bail citing 'evidence tampering'; Decision today


London, June 11: The main accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, Nirav Modi, who is lodged in the Wandsworth prison in west London, on Tuesday approached the Royal Courts of Justice for the fourth time for bail. The Royal Courts of Justice will give its decision on Modi's bail plea on Wednesday.

As per latest updates, the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London has now concluded. The court will give its decision tomorroe (June 12).

He has been denied bail thrice by the Westminster Magistrates Court. His was last denied bail by chief judge Emma Arbuthnot on May 8.

File photo of Nirav Modi

During the hearing today, Modi's lawyer Claire Montgomery read out some email exchange between Nirav Modi and his brother, reported ANI.

"The emails clearly show that there is no evidence of any sort of witness interference. We have seen witnesses from Abu Dhabi who have replied to emails from ED," Montgomery said before the judge.

The 48-year-old, wanted in India as the main accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case amounting to up to $2 billion, was taken back to prison after his bail was denied on May 08 by Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot.

"He moved here to raise capital, to explore where in the world he needed to be immigration wise. If he is given bail, he is willing to be tagged through an electronic device, have a phone that can be tracked..And since he has an extradition case starting, there is no way he will run away. His daughter and son will be moving here, they are starting university," Montgomery further said.

The Judge reportedly said that at this stage Nirav Modi has got highly designed legal team in place, who are preparing to face the Indian Government to stop the extradition. And he has a good chance to fail the extradition altogether. And if he is extradited then he could be arrested at that time.

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which represents the Indian Government, said if Nirav Modi is given bail during extradition hearings, then that's another thing. But he should not be given bail at this time as he faces serious charges.

Arbuthnot on May 8 denied bail on grounds of 'flight risk', the scale of the alleged fraud, access to funds, potentially influencing witnesses and destroying evidence, and weak links to the UK.

CPS further said if Nirav is given bail, it is possible that evidence can be tempered with.

""Modi is like Assange is not seeking refuge in some embassy. He is an ordinary person. He is not at flight risk. He can be asked not to contact witnesses directly or indirectly," Modi's lawyer Claire Montgomery said.

[UK court extends Nirav Modi's remand till June 27]

Modi's counsel had told the court that his client would abide by any stringent conditions as long as he did not have to be lodged in the "unliveable" Wandsworth prison cell.

Nirav Modi was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers in central London on March 19 and faces extradition to India as 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. The diamond merchant has been behind bars at one of England's most overcrowded prisons - Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Wandsworth.

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