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London’s Metro Bank clerk does what PNB brass didn’t Called cops upon seeing Nirav Modi walk in to open a bank account

March 21, 2019 07:19 AM

COURTESY MIRROR MARCH 21

London’s Metro Bank clerk does what PNB brass didn’t
Called cops upon seeing Nirav Modi walk in to open a bank account
| Danish Khan
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TWEETS @ahmedabadmirror

At exactly four minutes past noon, Nirav Modi arrived in the docks of court number 2 at Westminster Magistrates Court wearing a flustered and forlorn look. At the end of the proceedings, which lasted for around 45 minutes, his face sunk further as the court refused to grant him bail.

Modi will thus remain behind bars till March 29 when he will be presented in court for the next hearing. He was arrested on Tuesday in a rather dramatic way from Metro Bank in Holborn where he had gone to open an account. His plush £8 million flat at Centrepoint and his new office are located around Tottenham Court Road which is close to Holborn.


Modi’s solicitor Anand Doobay was in touch with the extradition unit of the Scotland Yard and an “arrest by agreement” was being discussed wherein he was to be presented at the Westminster magistrate court on March 25. When Doobay received a call from the cops on Tuesday, he thought it was for a further discussion, but instead was told that his client was being arrested. A bank clerk alerted the cops after Nirav Modi walked in the branch thinking that he was a fugitive wanted by the police in UK.

As a police team reached the bank they took the decision to place him under arrest. He was then kept at a police station and was presented before District Judge Marie Mallon at the Westminster Magistrate court. The court heard that Modi is accused of fraud amounting to 1.2 billion US dollars under charges that are punishable in the U.K. as well.

It emerged in the court that while Modi’s solicitor and the cops were in touch, no agreement had been reached regarding bail. The CPS lawyer made it clear the prosecution would oppose bail as they fear if he gets bail “he will fail to surrender”.

The court was told Modi had allegedly scammed the Punjab National Bank to the tune of US 1.2 billion. The defence offered a £500,000 surety for this “high value crime” and argued that Modi was in touch with the extradition unit of Scotland Yard even before the warrant offering to co-operate with the proceedings. His lawyers also told the court that Modi’s son is studying in London and hence Modi has no reason to leave. His monthly earnings of 20,000 pounds per month was also cited as a reason for his bail.

On Monday evening, reporters had confronted Modi on the busy streets of London when the diamond tycoon offered a “no comments” and “stop stalking me” as the only response to the myriad of questions posed to him. Modi was earlier confront by journalists from UK daily Telegraph wearing a £10000 worth Ostrich skin jacket and had back then also offered a “no comments” as his only response.

But in court today, a shocked Modi looked as pale as his white shirt, his red eyes speaking of a rather uncomfortable night in prison and more to follow. From initial reports, it seems a similar courtroom battle is set to play out in Modi’s case with Clare Montgomery defending Modi and Mark Summers standing up for India. In December the Westminster Magistrate Court had decided to agree to Vijay Mallya’s extradition. Modi’s case could take a similar time frame with initial case management hearings followed by trial dates, which is when the substantive hearing will take place. All this would take place over the next 12 to 14 months. Any decision of the Westminster Magistrate Court could be contested in the UK High Court.

As per the preliminary submissions made by Modi’s lawyer, it seems the argument in his defence will receive around human rights and prison conditions and that the charges are politically motivated. Modi who fled India in February 2018, has travelled between US and Europe and was found to be living in London since June. An extradition request was made by India in August 2018 with the Home Secretary Sajid Javid certifying it only seven months later

 
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