New Delhi: Four Swiss bank accounts of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, the main accused in the USD 2-billion PNB fraud case, and his sister have been “frozen” by authorities in Switzerland as part of the criminal money laundering probe being conducted against them in India, official sources said.

They said the accounts, at present, have deposits totalling Rs 283.16 crore and they have been frozen on the request of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after it informed Switzerland authorities that the money kept in them are “proceeds of crime” of a bank fraud perpetrated by the duo.

Nirav Modi (48) has been lodged at the 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.

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.

Nirav Modi was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers on an extradition warrant on March 19 and has been in prison since. During subsequent hearings, Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told that Modi was the “principal beneficiary” of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) as part of a conspiracy to defraud PNB and then laundering the proceeds of crime.

Under UK law, Modi is expected to be produced before the court every four weeks, with another remand hearing expected before the July 29 case management hearing currently fixed in the court’s calendar.

 

With IANS and PTI inputs