Nirav Modi denied bail by UK court

[**EDS: ARTISTIC ILLUSTRATION (FILE)** London: In this illustrative image fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi is seen in the dock during a hearing of his extradition case at Westminster Magistrate?s Court in London, Thursday, May 30, 2019. The UK High Court on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, rejected Nirav Modi?s bail application, his fourth attempt as the diamond merchant fights his extradition from Britain to India in the nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case. (Illustration/ /PTI]

New Delhi, June 12 : A British court on Wednesday extended, till June 27, the judicial custody of Nirav Modi, while rejecting his bail plea as it suspected that he could “interfere” with witnesses.

The Westminster Magistrates’ Court ordered the Metropolitan Police to put him under its custody till the next hearing on June 27.

The 48-year-old businessman, wanted in India in connection with the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, was arrested from Holborn here on March 19. Since then he has been fighting extradition proceedings.

The court cited alleged efforts to interfere with witness statements and destruction of evidence for extending Nirav Modi’s judicial custody.

The businessman and his uncle Mehul Choksi are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation after the PNB alleged that they cheated it of Rs 13,500 crore with the involvement of a few bank employees.

Nirav Modi also faces charges under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act. The ED has filed a chargesheet against Choksi in a Prevention of Money Laundering Act Court in Mumbai.

Both fled India before the details of the fraud emerged in January 2018 before the scam was unearthed.

/IANS

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