Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, fighting extradition to India on charges over the nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, was remanded in further custody until July 9 by a UK court on Thursday.
The 49-year-old jeweller, who has been lodged at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since his arrest in March last year, appeared via videolink for the remand hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.
He was remanded in further custody until July 9 as part of the regular 28-day “call-over” hearing.
“The next hearing will be a similar videolink call-over towards the next stage of your extradition proceedings scheduled for September 7,” District Judge Samuel Goozee told Modi, who spoke only to confirm his name and nationality.
Last month, Judge Goozee presided over the first part of the extradition trial, held in a partial remote setting due to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, with the second part scheduled for a five-day hearing from September 7.
“I hope Mr Modi by the time we get to September, the current restrictions on movement from prisons have been eased and you can be in court in person to follow the proceedings,” the judge had told Modi, at the end of a four-day partial hearing of the case on May 14.
Modi had been following the court proceedings from a room at Wandsworth Prison and could be seen taking notes during the course of the trial.
The first part of the case focused on establishing a prima facie case against him but the schedule had to be re-timetabled as the government of India submitted a further set of documents as “corroboratory evidence”. The judge allowed the additional evidence to be introduced but agreed that Modi’s defence team would require enough time to “digest” them.