Fallen diamond billionaire Nirav Modi lost a bid to block his extradition to India from the UK, where he is wanted in multiple criminal cases for masterminding one of country's biggest bank frauds.
A London court rejected his request to block the celebrity jeweler's removal over concerns he poses a suicide risk if he ends up in Indian jail. "We are far from satisfied that Mr. Modi's mental condition and the risk of suicide are such that it would be either unjust or oppressive to extradite him," a two-judge panel said Tuesday.
Although Modi has the option to appeal, the decision brings India a step closer to get an infamous fugitive to face criminal charges in a high profile fraud that contributed to an $8 billion hole Asia's third largest economy's banking system.
The Indian government accused Modi of defrauding the country's second largest bank Punjab National Bank using credit guarantees for his diamonds business. Modi has denied all allegations of wrongdoings and contested his extradition.
Modi, 51, was once a jeweler to the stars - Kate Winslet wore his bracelet and earrings to the Oscars - and operated boutiques around the world. On the run from India, he was arrested in London in 2019 and remains in custody.
Anand Doobay, Modi's lawyer, declined to comment. Spokesperson for India's foreign affairs ministry did not immediately respond to a call.
The judges said arrangements promised by Indian authorities in response to Modi's concerns reduce the risks. The assurances are "an indication that they will enable the authorities to cope properly with Mr. Modi's condition and the risk of suicide," they said in the verdict.