A court in United Kingdom on Thursday sent diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who is the key accused in the Punjab National Bank scam, to judicial custody till October 17, PTI reported. Modi made an appearance in the Westminister Magistrates’ Court in London through videolink from Wandsworth prison in Southwest London, where he has been lodged since his arrest on March 19.
Judge David Robinson told the businessman there was nothing substantial to go over and the court would hear a plea to extradite him from May 11 to May 15, 2020. Indian officials from the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation were present in the court for the short hearing that is mandated under the law in United Kingdom every 28 days till an extradition trial. A case management hearing will be reportedly held in February 2020.
Modi is accused of duping Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore. Four bail applications have been posted by his legal team since his arrest, but they were rejected every time as Modi was deemed a flight risk.
Last week, Interpol issued a Red Corner Notice against Nehal Deepak Modi, the diamond merchant’s brother, after the Enforcement Directorate charged him with destruction of evidence. Another Red Corner Notice was issued by the Interpol against Purvi Deepak Modi, Nirav Modi’s sister. The Enforcement Directorate had charged his sister with “playing a major role in laundering the proceeds of crime generated from the PNB scam and being a beneficiary of the scam to the tune of at least $133 million [Rs 942 crore]”.
In June, the Enforcement Directorate had seized four Swiss bank accounts belonging to Nirav Modi and Purvi Modi. The four bank accounts had a total of Rs 283.16 crore. Swiss authorities froze the accounts based on a request from the Enforcement Directorate, which said the money kept in them represented “proceeds of a crime”.
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