Published: Thu, March 21, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Diamantaire claims charges 'politically motivated' as Westminister court hears bail plea

Diamantaire claims charges 'politically motivated' as Westminister court hears bail plea

Nirav Modi, who allegedly defrauded an Indian state-run bank of US$2 billion, was denied bail by a London judge who said there were "substantial risks" that the celebrity jeweller could flee while the country seeks his extradition.

Modi had been in touch with authorities to arrange to turn himself in at a London police station next week, Hepburne Scott said.

"Mr Modi will be taken to Westminster Magistrates' Court today where he will face an extradition hearing".

Separately, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), India's main financial crime-fighting agency, said that a court on Wednesday issued a non-bailable warrant against Nirav Modi's wife.

Opposition leaders on Wednesday called diamond merchant Nirav Modi's arrest mere symbolism ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Modi has been chargesheeted by both the agencies and the ED has also attached his assets worth Rs 1,873.08 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and has also seized assets linked to him and his family worth Rs 489.75 crore.

According to The Telegraph's report, Nirav Modi is living openly in a three-bedroom flat, occupying half the floor of the landmark Centre Point tower block.

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An extradition request against him has been pending before the United Kingdom authorities since last September. Among those on Modi's legal team are Anand Doobay, a partner at Boutique Law LLP, who also represented Mallya.

An Interpol red notice was issued on the request of the Indian authorities in July for Modi's arrest but he continued to remain at large.

Modi left India in January a year ago, since when his precise location has been the subject of much speculation.

With millions of people joining the #MainBhiChowkidaar group on Twitter, the BJP chose to go full-throttle in pushing the campaign and blunting Rahul Gandhi's repeated charges of the Modi government apparently supporting both the corrupt and corruption.

Zaiwalla added: "At this stage, the (Nirav Modi) case looks straightforward, and complications can only arise if he had acquired any European or other global citizenship". If the order is confirmed even during the appeal, the final decision will still rest with Javid to send Modi to India.

Now that Nirav has been arrested and the move to bring him back to India is likely to gather pace, the timing is being seen as rather dubious by opposition leaders.

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