A United Kingdom court has rejected the latest bail plea of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who has been lodged in a London prison since his arrest on an extradition warrant in March last year.
The application was reportedly made on the basis of "new evidence", but Westminster Magistrates' Court District Judge Samuel Goozee was not convinced to reverse previous bail rejections in Modi's case.
The 49-year-old jeweller, fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering in the estimated USD 2-billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam case, has made around six previous attempts at bail, at the magistrates' court as well as at the High Court level.
However, each of the applications, which came with an offer stringent conditions akin to house arrest and a bail bond security of 4 million pounds, have been rejected each time as he has been deemed to have the financial means and motivation to abscond.
At Modi's last High Court bail hearing in March this year, Justice Ian Dove had said, "My central concern of a risk of absconding are not obviated by the measures presented."
The court has also repeatedly been told of Modi's fragile mental health and that his psychological condition was "deteriorating with the ever-increasing detention".
"He has increasingly suffered from severe depression and the latest assessment shows he is on the threshold of being subject to hospitalisation unless given proper treatment and his fitness to plead may be in doubt here or in the requesting state (India) given a high risk of suicide," Modi's barrister, Clare Montgomery, had told Westminster Magistrates' Court last month as part of the defence arguments against inadequate prison conditions in India.
Modi is next scheduled to appear via videolink from Wandsworth Prison in south-west London on November 3, for the hearing in his extradition case when Judge Goozee will be presented with arguments to determine the admissibility of the evidence provided by the Indian authorities.