The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday seized four Swiss bank accounts belonging to fugitive businessman Nirav Modi and his sister Purvi Modi. Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are accused of allegedly duping India’s Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore.
The four bank accounts had a total of Rs 283.16 crore. Swiss authorities froze the accounts after a request from the Enforcement Directorate, which said the money kept in them represented “proceeds of a crime”. “The request was made on the ground that money in the bank accounts were deposited out of illegal siphoned off funds from Indian banks,” a statement from the agency said.
The Swiss authorities froze the accounts under the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the statement said.
Meanwhile, Modi will appear on Thursday before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London in connection with his extradition case, PTI reported. He is likely to appear via video link from Wandsworth prison, where he has been lodged since his fourth attempt at seeking bail was rejected on June 12. On May 31, the court extended his custody till June 27.
Previously, the judge had denied him bail and said there were substantial grounds to believe Modi would fail to surrender and might interfere with witnesses and obstruct justice.
Modi was arrested in London on March 19.
During the bail hearings, the Indian government had told the Westminster Magistrates’ Court that Modi was the “principal beneficiary” of the fraudulent letters of undertaking as part of a conspiracy to defraud Punjab National Bank and then laundering the proceeds of crime.
The United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service, representing the Indian government, has time until July 11 to present an opening position statement laying out the prima facie case against Modi. The next hearing is on July 29 when a timeline for extradition trial is expected to be laid out.