New Delhi: The Switzerland government on Thursday froze the Swiss Bank accounts of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi on the Enforcement Directorate’s request.
The ED had appealed to the Government of Switzerland four months ago to freeze Nirav Modi’s accounts after it traced the transfer of Rs 286 crore from Punjab National Bank (PNB) to Swiss Bank.
The Directorate had claimed that the whopping amount was sent through layers. First, the money was sent to Dubai, then Hong Kong and further to Switzerland.
Early on Thursday, reports said that Modi will appear via videolink from prison for a routine remand hearing before Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.
The 48-year-old, who has been lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London since his arrest in March in connection with the nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, will be appearing for the first time since his bail appeal was rejected by the UK High Court earlier this month, his fourth attempt at bail.
In her judgment handed down at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Justice Ingrid Simler concluded there were substantial grounds to believe that Modi would fail to surrender as he does possess the means to abscond. Reiterating similar concerns as those previously raised by Westminster Magistrates' Court during earlier bail attempts, Judge Simler ruled that after considering all the material 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.
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 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 Modi, with the next case management hearing set for July 29 when a timeline for extradition trial is expected to be laid out.