The Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Thursday remanded fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi in further custody till July 9 in India’s second extradition case against him, PTI reported. The 49-year-old businessman, who has been lodged at Wandsworth Prison in London since his arrest in March 2019, appeared via video link for the hearing.
Nirav Modi is accused of duping Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore. His uncle Mehul Choksi is also a prime accused in the case. Modi fled to the United Kingdom in 2018.
“The next hearing will be a similar video link call-over towards the next stage of your extradition proceedings scheduled for September 7,” District Judge Samuel Goozee told Modi. The diamond merchant, for his part, spoke only to tell the court his name and nationality.
The first part of the case focused on establishing prima facie evidence against Modi. However, the trial was delayed after India submitted additional documents as corroborative evidence to the United Kingdom. The judge allowed the additional evidence to be introduced but agreed that Modi’s defence team would require enough time to study them.
Therefore, a hearing planned to deal with a second extradition request made by India has been extended to include the arguments for establishing a prima facie case against Modi. The Crown Prosecution Service, arguing on behalf of the Indian government, has alleged that a number of staff of the Punjab National Bank conspired with Modi to issue Letters of Undertaking to his companies without following protocol.
The Enforcement Directorate said on Wednesday that it brought back to India the diamonds, pearls and silver jewellery belonging to overseas entities owned by fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. The jewels are worth Rs 1,350 crore, the investigation agency said.