Nirav Modi loses UK high court fight against extradition to India

High profile jewellery magnate has lost a worldwide gems empire

Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, left, and diamond jewellery designer Nirav Modi attend the opening ceremony of a jewelry store of Nirav Modi in Hong Kong, China, 26 October 2016.
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Former celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi lost a bid to ask Britain’s highest court to stop his extradition to India on Thursday, where he is wanted for masterminding one of country’s biggest bank frauds.

Former diamond billionaire faces multiple criminal cases in his native land. The ruling leaves Modi with very few options to remain in the UK. The jeweller had earlier sought to halt his extradition citing his mental health and suicide risks.

“The application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court is refused,” Judge Stuart Smith said Thursday.

The decision is a boost to India’s efforts to get the custody of the infamous fugitive who became the poster boy for a series of bank frauds over the past decade in the diamond industry in India, which cuts or polishes about 90 per cent of the world’s supply.

The process to remove him from the UK may still take time. Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is also wanted in India on allegation of loan fraud, in 2020 lost permission to take his extradition to the Supreme Court but is yet to be extradited.

MUMBAI, INDIA - AUGUST 9: Luxury diamond jewellery designer and founder and creative director of the Nirav Modi chain of diamond jewellery retail stores Nirav Modi at his office in Lower Parel, on August 9, 2016 in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint via Getty Images)

The Indian government accused Modi of defrauding the country’s second largest bank Punjab National Bank of around $2 billion using credit guarantees for his diamonds business. Modi has denied all allegations of wrongdoings and contested his extradition.

Anand Doobay, Modi’s lawyer, declined to comment. India’s foreign affairs ministry and the UK Home Office didn’t immediately comment on the ruling.

Updated: December 15, 2022, 12:23 PM