Nirav Modi is preparing to appear for the UK court hearing via video conferencing from prison. The fugitive diamantaire is now lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London since March.
London: Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi is set to appear before the Westminster magistrates' court in London via video conferencing from prison. The 48-year-old has been lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London since his arrest in March.
Nirav Modi was arrested in connection with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case amounting to nearly $ 2 billion. This is the first time that he would be appearing for hearing since his fourth bail appeal was rejected by the UK high court earlier this month.
Justice Ingrid Simler concluded there were "substantial grounds" to believe that Nirav Modi would fail to surrender as he does possess the means to "abscond". Judge Simler's judgment was handed down at the royal courts of justice in London.
Reiterating similar concerns as those previously raised by Westminster magistrates' court during earlier bail attempts, Judge Simler ruled that after considering all the materials "carefully", she had found strong evidence to suggest there had been interference with witnesses and destruction of evidence in the case and concluded it can still occur.
"The applicant has access to considerable financial resources, supported by an increased (bail bond security) offer of 2 million pounds," the judge noted.
The high court judge stressed that while it was not for her to take a "definitive view" on the evidence, she had proceeded on the basis that the government of India has acted in good faith in what is "undoubtedly" a serious case and a "sophisticated international conspiracy" to defraud, together with money laundering.
Nirav Modi had the automatic right to file an application in the higher court and did not require permission to appeal.
Meanwhile, the first case management hearing in his extradition case took place at Westminster magistrates' court on May 30, when Judge Emma Arbuthnot directed the Indian government to confirm which prison Nirav Modi is to be held in if he were to be extradited to India, setting a 14-day deadline for a confirmation of the prison plans in India.
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), representing the Indian government, has until July 11 to present an opening position statement laying out the prima facie case against Nirav Modi, with the next case management hearing set for July 29 - when a timeline for extradition trial is expected to be laid out.
Meanwhile, four Swiss bank accounts of beleaguered diamantaire Nirav Modi and his sister have been "frozen" by authorities in Switzerland as part of the criminal money laundering probe being conducted against them in India.
It is reportedly said that they had deposited a total of Rs 283.16 crore and the bank authorities have frozen the account on the request of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after it informed Switzerland authorities that the money kept in them are "proceeds of crime" of a bank fraud perpetrated by the duo.
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Last Updated Jun 27, 2019, 3:52 PM IST