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UK court allows extradition of Indian celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi

Modi grew up in Antwerp, Belgium,  in a diamond-dealing family. At the age of 19 he moved to Mumbai in 1990-Photo Courtesy: India Today/FileFugitive Indian jeweller Nirav Modi  loses bid to avoid extradition from Britain
Modi fled India in February 2018 after being accused of having a central role in a $1.8-billion (1.5-billion-euro) fraud Before the alleged fraud Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at $1.73 billion, placing him 85th on India’s rich list

LONDON: A fugitive Indian jeweller Nirav Modi, whose name is a stamp of corporate India’s growing global prestige,  lost his bid on Thursday to avoid extradition from Britain to face claims of involvement in massive bank fraud.

District Judge Sam Goozee told Nirav Modi at a court hearing in central London there was enough evidence to suggest there was a criminal case against him in his homeland.

Modi fled India in February 2018 after being accused of having a central role in a $1.8-billion (1.5-billion-euro) fraud involving Punjab National Bank (PNB).

Before the alleged fraud, which rocked corporate India, Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at $1.73 billion, placing him 85th on India’s rich list.

Modi, who owned luxury jewellery stores across the world with celebrity customers, including Hollywood and Bollywood stars, was arrested in London in March 2019.

The 49-year-old is accused of defrauding the bank, which is one of India’s biggest public lenders, and laundering the proceeds, as well as witness intimidation and destroying evidence.

Judge Goozee dismissed submissions from his legal team that he would not be treated fairly in India, and said there was not enough evidence from doctors to believe he was a suicide risk.

Modi, dressed in a dark suit and white shirt, attended the hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court via videolink from prison where he is being held on remand.

Goozee said the matter would be sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel to make the final ruling on extradition.

The Home Secretary has two months to make a decision.

Following this, Modi has 14 days to appeal.

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