Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi appeared through a video link for what is called a regular remand hearing at the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London where he was further remanded in custody till 11 November 2019. It means that Nirav Modi will once again appear through a video link for his hearing. This process would continue every 28 days as it is required by the UK law for those awaiting extradition trial. Modi's extradition trial is scheduled to take place between 11 to 15 May 2020.
Nirav Modi is fighting extradition to India in relation to Punjab National Bank fraud. He is charged with fraud, money laundering, criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust. Modi had challenged his extradition in the USD 2 bn Punjab National Bank fraud and is currently lodged at Wandsworth prison in London.
The diamantaire who was once living around one of the most expensive localities in London – Oxford Street, has been in judicial custody since March 2019 after being arrested by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant against him. He was arrested from a bank in central London while looking to open a bank account. A clerk at Metro Bank had informed the police about his presence which led to his arrest.
Following his arrest, he was produced at the Westminster Magistrates' Court which rejected his bail plea and sent him into judicial custody. George Hepburne Scott who argued for Modi claimed that his client was a law-abiding person who had been paying his council taxes and had been living openly. In addition, Modi's barrister had put forward 4.5 crores for his bail application but the Court was not convinced.
Jonathan Swain who represented the Crow Prosecution Service on behalf of the government of India opposed his bail plea arguing that Modi was a flight risk. He said that the crime involved huge amounts of money and was “sophisticated” in nature and that Modi would fail to surrender as he had “access to considerable means”.
District Judge Marrie Mallon after hearing the arguments concluded that while she took into account his cooperation and willingness, it was a high-value crime. She said that Modi had access to means, implying that there was a potential flight risk, hence she had substantial grounds to believe that Modi would fail to surrender. Modi's team has made four bail applications since his arrest but has not been successful. The courts have held that Modi was a potential flight risk and also attempts were made to destroy evidence related to the case.