London: Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, who is wanted in India in connection with the nearly $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, was on Thursday (July 25) further remanded to judicial custody until August 22, where he would appear once again via videolink from his London prison cell.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot presided over the regular four-week remand appearance via video link at Westminster Magistrates' Court during which she indicated that a five-day extradition trial would take place in May 2020 after dates are mutually agreed between all sides.

"You would like it to be sooner rather than later, I presume. We will have a date for you by August 22, so you know what you are working towards," Judge Arbuthnot told Modi.

He has been lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London since his arrest in March in connection with the nearly $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case.

Modi was represented in court by barrister Jessica Jones, who ran through some of the "directions" agreed between the diamond merchant's defence team and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government.

As per the timelines discussed during the brief hearing, the judge said she expected to receive all the evidence and skeleton argument bundles in the case by April 8, with a five-day hearing then expected to be slotted in May next year.

"The Indian government has made arrangements to attend Monday's hearing so we would like it to go ahead," said CPS barrister Hannah Burton, but the judge overruled that saying it would not be necessary for light of the pre-agreed directions and the court has "a lot going on".

Under UK law, Modi is expected to be produced before the court every four weeks, which now falls on August 22.

Modi was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers on an extradition warrant on March 19 and has been in prison since. During subsequent hearings, Westminster Magistrates' Court was told that Modi was the "principal beneficiary" of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) as part of a conspiracy to defraud PNB and then laundering the proceeds of crime.