MAC: Mines and Communities

Jail may be a long time for Indian diamond king

Published by MAC on 2019-03-27
Source: Press Trust India

Modi's diamond riches won't last for ever

Our's not to reason why perhaps, but his to stew, and maybe also cry?

For earlier coverage, please read: How a diamond king "made it in India" and got caught 


Not a happy Holi for Nirav Modi in one of England's most overcrowded jails

While he would hope to be held in a separate cell, the overcrowding
pressures of the jail may mean him sharing a prison cell with any of its
around 1,430 male prisoners

Press Trust of India

21 March 2019

Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, wanted in India on fraud and money
laundering charges amounting to $2 billion, spent Holi behind bars in one
of England's most overcrowded jails on Thursday, a day after a UK judge
rejected his bail application.

The 48-year-old was arrested by Scotland Yard on Tuesday and presented
before District Judge Marie Mallon at Westminster Magistrates' Court in
London on Wednesday.

The judge remanded him in custody till March 29 after which he was
transferred to Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Wandsworth in south-west London.

While he would hope to be held in a separate cell, the overcrowding
pressures of the jail may mean him sharing a prison cell with any of its
around 1,430 male prisoners.

Modi, one of India's richest men accustomed to the high-life and celebrity
circles around the world, will be faced with some harsh conditions at the
prison amid some dubious inmates.

During the most recent inspection carried out in February-March 2018, the
Victorian-era jail was found by UK Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke
to be "one of the most overcrowded in England and Wales" and filled with
many men with drug or mental health problems, receiving poor training and

"Despite six self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection, it was
concerning to find that not all staff were carrying anti-ligature knives,
that no staff would enter a cell alone even if a prisoner's life was in
danger and that the response to cell call bells was totally inadequate,"
he noted.

Prison cells designed for one prisoner are often occupied by two, with
poorly-screened lavatories and inmates being allowed far too little time
out of their cells, his inspection had concluded.

The living conditions will certainly be in stark contrast to the luxury
apartment at Centre Point in the West End of London where Modi has been
living over the past year, as it was confirmed during court proceedings on

"He has done everything he possibly can to be visible, to demonstrate his
keenness to fully cooperate [with UK authorities], George Hepburne Scott,
Modi's Barrister, told the court in support of his bail application.

Among the details that emerged during the hearing, it was claimed that
Modi was in the UK "lawfully", having acquired a National Insurance No.
offered only to legal residents to be able to live and work in the UK.

He had reportedly also been paying his Council Tax, which is a local tax
paid by a UK resident to the local authority and also serves as an
identity document for address proof. Based on this, he also received an
offer from the UK electoral register to register to vote and had submitted
one of three passports to the UK's Driving and Vehicle Licensing Authority
(DVLA) to apply for a driver's licence.

However, Modi's defence team's efforts to establish his credibility as a
lawful UK resident who had no intention of jumping bail and fleeing were
strongly objected to by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on
behalf of the Indian authorities.

The judge in the end ruled in favour of the Indian authorities, concluding
that the wanted diamantaire had "substantial grounds" to fail to
surrender, and remanded him in custody until his next hearing, scheduled
for March 29.

The court was told that Modi is wanted by the Indian authorities for his
role as a partner in a number of entities, namely Diamonds R Us, Stellar
Diamonds and Solar Exports, involved in the laundering of money and the
fraudulent issuing of Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) to Punjab National
Bank (PNB).


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