Authorities in Switzerland have frozen four Swiss bank accounts belonging to fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his family members. The freeze has been executed on the basis of a request from the Enforcement Directorate, which is probing a case of money laundering against him in connection with the Rs 13,500 crore PNB scam.
Sources said the four bank accounts have deposits totalling Rs 283.16 crore. The ED is likely to approach Swiss authorities to attach these accounts under India’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED request to freeze the accounts was made on the grounds that the money deposited in them was illegally siphoned off from Indian banks. “We have told them that the money deposited in these accounts are proceeds of a crime and should not be allowed to be withdrawn or used for any purpose,” an ED official said.
The Indian Express had earlier reported that Nirav Modi transferred around Rs 89 crore from Singapore to Switzerland a few months after India registered a criminal case against him in January 2017.
Meanwhile, a UK court on Thursday extended the remand of Nirav Modi till July 25. The 48-year-old, who is contesting his extradition from Britain to India, has been behind bars at London’s Wandsworth prison since his arrest in March.
Modi appeared via videolink from prison for a routine remand hearing before Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. 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 fixed in the court’s calendar.
The UK 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. —PTI Inputs
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