Ex-billionaire loses bid to block extradition to India in UK’s top court

The ruling leaves former diamond billionaire Nirav Modi with very few options to remain in Britain. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON – Former diamond billionaire Nirav Modi lost a bid to ask Britain’s highest court to stop his extradition to India, where he is wanted in multiple criminal cases for masterminding one of the country’s biggest bank frauds.

The ruling leaves Mr Modi with very few options to remain in the UK. The jeweler 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 on 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.

The Indian government accused Mr Modi of defrauding the country’s second largest bank Punjab National Bank of around US$2 billion using credit guarantees for his diamonds business. Mr 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. BLOOMBERG

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.