The Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Thursday remanded fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi in custody till August 27 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 conference for the hearing.
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.
He was told the next hearing will be a case management hearing ahead of a five-day trial from September 7. “You will appear via video link again,” Judge Baraitser told Modi. “Your lawyers may be present in court.”
In May, District Judge Samuel Goozee presided over the first part of Modi’s extradition trial, held in a partial remote settings. 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. The second part of the trial is scheduled between September 7 and September 11.
Besides completing the arguments on establishing a prima facie case against Modi, the trial next month will deal with the second extradition request made by the Indian authorities and certified by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. The second request brings two additional charges against Modi of “causing the disappearance of evidence” and intimidating witnesses or criminal intimidation to cause death.
In June, the Enforcement Directorate said 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.