LONDON: Fugitive jewellery designer Nirav Modi had his bail application turned down on Thursday, for the fifth time, despite using the top lawyer hired by Julian Assange and offering to be locked in rooms within his own apartment.
Nirav, whose main extradition hearing will take place in May, remains locked up in Londons Wandsworth Prison, which otherwise houses drug dealers, rapists and murderers.
For his latest bail application, he hired Edward Fitzgerald QC, who is described in Chambers and Partners as a “king of the field” and “a Rolls-Royce in the cab-rank of barristers”, who battled for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, accused of publishing US state secrets, in his high-profile extradition court battle in London last week.
On Thursday, in the administrative court of the high court, Fitzgerald put forward a package of measures that amounted to house arrest to enable Nirav to be released from jail. The security Nirav offered remained at £4 million (Rs 37 crore).
But Justice Dove refused bail, saying there was a very substantial and weighty risk both that Nirav would abscond and would, given the opportunity, interfere with witnesses.
This time Fitzgerald offered a 24-hour curfew, with Niravs movements monitored by a GPS electronic tag and a security guard positioned in Niravs £8 million (Rs 75 crore) luxury Centre Point apartment, just off Tottenham Court Road, who would unlock and lock the rooms he was in and not allow him to leave the premises.
“To get from the living space to the hall he will have to get unlocked by the guard, and to get from the bedroom he will have to be unlocked by the guard who will have the keys from one part of the flat to another and the keys to get out,” said Fitzgerald, who represented activist Lauri Love in his successful fight against extradition to the US.
The security guard would have a panic button and “the powers to restrain” Nirav and would immediately alert the police if Nirav attempted to breach his bail conditions.
All his phone calls, apart from those to his lawyers, would be monitored by the police and visitors would need to be pre-approved, he said.
“There is no question of Modi with his diminutive stature overpowering one of these security officers,” he added, saying Nirav was suffering from worsening depression in Londons notorious jail, where he had been attacked three times by prisoners and been set up “for an extortion attempt”.
Nicholas Hearn, representing the Crown Prosecution Service, on behalf of the Indian government, questioned the source of the £4 million bail security money. Fitzgerald said it had been provided by Niravs UK-based employer, Diamond Holdings, which has £5 million (Rs 47 crore) in its account. “There is no suggestion these are tainted funds,” he said.
“He has no valid travel documents and he has no citizenship other than Indian. There is a lot of talk he applied for Vanuatu citizenship. He hasnt got it,” Fitzgerald added.
But Hearn said the bail security amount and hiring Fitzgerald indicated Nirav had “access to other resources”.
“We think there is no lawful basis for a private security company to imprison someone in their own flat,” he said, adding tagRead More – Source