A special court for CBI cases here on Thursday separated the trial of two accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, noting that it was not known how long the extradition process of diamond merchant Nirav Modi, a prime accused, would take.
Gokulnath Shetty, a retired PNB officer, and Hemant Bhatt, an authorised signatory of Modi's companies, are in judicial custody since 2018 and their bail pleas have been rejected, the court said.
"Speedy trial is the right of an accused. An accused cannot keep languishing in jail without trial," it added.
The other accused in the case who were opposing the plea for separation of trial were out on bail, the judge noted.
"Though extradition proceeding against Nirav Modi is going on in the UK, nobody knows how much time it will take and its result," the court added.
It allowed the applications filed by Shetty and Bhatt and separated their trial from that of the other accused.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has alleged that Shetty misused his position and caused "undue pecuniary advantage" to the accused and losses to the bank.
Nirav Modi was declared a fugitive economic offender in 2019. He is presently facing extradition proceedings while being lodged in a prison in the United Kingdom.
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