London, April 26 (IANS) A London court on Friday extended till May 24 the judicial custody of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, rejecting his bail plea as it suspected that he could flee Britain and “interfere with witnesses”.
The Westminster Magistrates’ Court ordered the Metropolitan Police to put him under custody till next hearing on May 24.
The 48-year-old businessman, wanted in India in connection with Rs 13,500-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, was arrested from Holborn in London on March 19. Since then he has been fighting extradition proceedings in London.
Nirav Modi was produced before the court via videoconferencing from Wandsworth prison in south-west London.
The businessman and his uncle Mehul Choksi are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation after the PNB alleged that they cheated it of Rs 13,500 crore with the involvement of a few bank employees.
Both fled India before the details of the fraud emerged in January 2018. The ED on February 26, 2018 attached property worth Rs 147 crore of Nirav Modi and his associate companies in connection with the case.
This is the third time when the businessman’s bail was rejected by the court. Judge Emma Arbuthnot on March 29 had granted the Metropolitan Police custody of Nirav Modi.
Arbuthnot is the judge who ordered the extradition of former Kingfisher Airlines boss Vijay Mallya in December.
Nirav Modi’s first bail plea was rejected on the second day of his arrest.
In May 2018, the ED filed chargesheets and sought non-bailable warrants against Nirav Modi and Choksi.