New Delhi: Prime accused in the over $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, Nirav Modi, has been declared as a fugitive economic offender by a special court in Mumbai.

Nirav Modi is currently lodged at Wandsworth Prison in London.

It must be noted the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, allows designated special court to declare a person as a fugitive economic offender and to confiscate his property, including ‘benami’ ones. The legislation also prevents big economic offenders from fleeing the country and evading the law. The Act was signed into law by President Ram Nath Kovind in August this year.

Nirav Modi’s extradition trial is scheduled between May 11 and 15, 2020.

Moreover, the special court had on Wednesday directed Nirav Modi, and two others, to appear before it by January 15, failing which it would proceed to declare them proclaimed offenders.

Special CBI court judge V C Barde had issued the proclamation order against Nirav Modi, his brother Neeshal Modi and a close associate Subhash Parab, directing them to remain present before it by mid-January.

Once a person is declared a proclaimed offender, the probe agency can begin the confiscation of his properties in India.