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No Relief For Nirav Modi, Custody Extended, Next Hearing By Video On January 2, 2020

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There seems to be no relief for the embattled Nirav Modi, the prime accused in the PNB scam and fighting extradition to India on charges over the nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, was further remanded in custody at a hearing and asked to appear via videolink on January 2.

Modi appeared for his regular 28-day “call-over” appearance from London’s Wandsworth prison at Westminster magistrate’s court, where judge Gareth Branston reconfirmed that his extradition trial will begin on May 11 next year and will last five days.

The judge also decided that Modi will appear via video link on January 2, 2020.

Meanwhile, he must appear before the court every 28 days.

The 48-year-old had moved yet another bail application last month with an “unprecedented” house arrest guarantee, akin to those imposed on terrorist suspects, as well as citing mental health issues from being behind bars at Wandsworth prison in south-west London since his arrest in March.

But the bail plea was turned down by chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot over continued fears of witness intimidation and failure to surrender before the court for his extradition trial in May 2020.

“The past is a prediction of what might happen in the future,” Judge Arbuthnot said at the last hearing on November 6.

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which represents the Indian government in the extradition proceedings, said there was no further prospect of an appeal for bail in a higher court as the UK high court has already turned down Modi’s plea earlier this year.

“You only get to go once and can’t keep appealing over and over,” a CPS spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Modi must appear for “call-over” hearings at Westminster magistrates’ court until the case management hearings for his extradition trial kick in from early next year.

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