Billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, prime accused in India’s biggest banking scam, is set to appear via video link from prison for a routine remand hearing before Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Thursday. This is the first time since his bail appeal was rejected by the UK High Court earlier this month, his fourth attempt at bail.
Modi, dressed in blue shirt and black trousers, was produced in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court before Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot for his first case management at previous hearing. Nirav Modi, wanted in India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to nearly USD 2 billion in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) case, took notes as the judge fixed his next remand hearing via video link for June 27 and set a 14-day deadline for the Indian authorities to confirm the prison plans in India.
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"There is no reason why it should not be answered within 14 days," Judge Arbuthnot said, adding that Arthur Road Jail would be the ‘obvious candidate’. Arbuthnot, who ordered the extradition of liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya in December 2018, had sought a video of the exact cell in which the former Kingfisher Airlines boss was to be held. She therefore indicated that if Modi was to be held within the same premises, the court would most likely not have any objections.
Modi, who has remained in judicial custody since his arrest in March, had the automatic right to file an application in the higher court and did not require permission to appeal.
Contrary to the latest development, an earlier report had said that Modi, the prime accused of India’s biggest banking scam, will be extradited to India much sooner and won’t be delayed like absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya. According to a report, India will be able to bring back Modi within six months. And unlike Mallya, Modi can’t argue on the grounds of ‘human rights’ and political motivation.
A report in Times of India had said that since the UK Courts had struck down the ‘human rights’ issue in Mallya’s hearing, it would give advantage to the India probe agencies. The report also said that the extensive and water-tight investigation papers by Indian agencies show enough proofs to meet the ‘dual criminality’ clause, which is required in the UK courts while dealing such cases.
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From the fake Letters of Intent to bank transfers, the chargesheets by both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate have detailed account of Modi’s modus operandi. The agencies have already seized the diamantaire’s properties in India worth Rs 1,873 crore.