Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi was further remanded in custody at a hearing in London and asked to appear via video link on January 2, even as a special court in Mumbai declared him a fugitive economic offender on a plea by the Enforcement Directorate.
This opens the door for the Indian government to begin seizing his property and assets in India, the UK and the UAE.
Modi, fighting extradition to India in the nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, appeared for his regular 28-day "call-over" appearance from London's Wandsworth prison at Westminster Magistrates' Court, where Judge Gareth Branston reiterated that his extradition trial will begin on May 11 next year and will last five days.
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which represents the Indian government in the extradition proceedings, said there is no further prospect of an appeal for bail in a higher court as the UK High Court has already turned down Nirav Modi's plea earlier this year.
Special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court judge VC Barde meanwhile declared Modi a fugitive economic offender, making him the second businessman after liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya to be labelled such under the provisions of the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act, which came into existence in August 2018.
The Mumbai court will now begin hearings on the list of Modi’s properties both in India and abroad that are to be confiscated from December 10.