Two High Court judges upheld a lower court’s ruling that the fugitive jeweler has a case to answer before Indian courts and that it would not be “unjust or oppressive” for British authorities to send him to India.
Modi’s lawyers said the businessman experienced depression and argued his mental health put him at risk of suicide if he were extradited.
Modi has denied the fraud allegations and could try to challenge Wednesday’s ruling at the U.K. Supreme Court.
He still has an option to approach the Supreme Court on a point of law of public importance. Within a span of 14 days of a High Court verdict, the convict can challenge the High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court but it is not as simple. There is a high threshold as the High Court has to certify that the case involves a point of law of general public importance.
Modi can also seek a so-called Rule 39 injunction from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
If he seeks any of the options, the extradition process will be delayed. Therefore, it might take some time to bring him back to India for trial in connection with Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam.
Indian authorities have sought Modi since February 2018, when they alleged companies he controlled defrauded the state-owned Punjab National Bank by using fake financial documents to get loans to buy and import jewels.
He was detained in London in 2019 and has since been held without bail in prison.
The son of a diamond merchant, Modi built an international jewelry empire that stretched from India to New York and Hong Kong. Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra became the face of his eponymous brand and Hollywood actress Naomi Watts appeared with Modi at the opening of his first U.S. boutique in 2015.
Forbes magazine estimated Modi’s wealth at $1.8 billion in 2017, but he was removed from the publication’s billionaires’ list after the fraud allegations.
(With agency inputs)