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UK government approves Vijay Mallya's extradition order

Feb 5, 2019 12:50 IST

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has signed the order to extradite Indian business tycoon and liquor baron Vijay Mallya from the United Kingdom to India. Mallya now has a 14-day window to appeal against the order to a higher court.

UK Home Secretary approves Vijay Mallya's extradition order

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid on February 3, 2019 signed the order to extradite Indian business tycoon and liquor baron Vijay Mallya from the United Kingdom to India. Mallya now has a 14-day window to appeal against the order to a higher court.

The Secretary of State signed the order after having carefully considered all relevant matters. The move comes less than two months after a UK court ordered the extradition of the fugitive businessman to face charges of fraud and money laundering filed against him in India. It follows a nine-month-long trial on an extradition warrant, which began with Mallya’s arrest in April 2017 and ended in September.

India has been seeking the businessman’s extradition on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to almost Rs 9,000 crore. He has been on bail since his arrest. According to sources, the entire procedure to bring back Mallya to India may take at least 7-8 months if he uses all his legal options.

Key Highlights

The extradition trial, which opened at the Westminster Magistrates' Court on December 4, 2017, has gone through a series of hearings beyond the initial seven days earmarked for it.

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot decided there was a prima facie case against Mallya, who moved to Britain in March 2016 and his human rights would not be infringed if he was extradited.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot ruled that Mallya can be extradited to India to stand trial on the charges brought by the CBI and ED, as there is nothing to indicate that the Mallya case was pursued because of his political opinions.

The Judge ordered the extradition of Mallya to India, calling him ‘bejewelled’ bodyguarded billionaire playboy. The Central Bureau of Investigation welcomed the decision of the Chief Magistrate.

Under the Extradition Treaty procedures, the Chief Magistrate's verdict was then referred to the UK's Secretary of State, as only he was authorised to order Mallya's extradition.

Sajid Javid, UK's senior-most Pakistani-origin minister, had two months from that date to sign off on that order.

What will happen next?

Vijay Mallya now has 14 days to appeal in a higher court. The person to be extradited is entitled to make an application for permission to appeal to the High Court within 14 days of the date of the extradiction order's approval.

Following UK's government's approval of his extradiction order, the fugitive business tycoon said that he will initiate the appeal process. “After the decision was handed down on December 10, 2018 by the Westminster Magistrates Court, I stated my intention to appeal. I could not initiate the appeal process before a decision by the Home Secretary. Now I will initiate the appeal process," said Mallya.

Background

Vijay Mallya was declared as a proclaimed offender by a special court in June 2016 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Mumbai in a loan diversion case.

The move came after the Enforcement Directorate (ED), an investigation agency under the Union Finance Ministry, filed a petition over a case where Mallya is suspected to have diverted Rs 430 crores worth loan given by IDBI Bank Ltd to his Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.

The ED requested the court to issue an order under Section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and term Mallya a proclaimed offender, citing multiple arrest warrants pending against Mallya including a non-bailable warrant (NBW) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

Mallya left India in a self-proclaimed exile in March 2016 for London on a diplomatic passport. The businessman, who owned the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines and co-owned the Formula One motor racing team Force India until it went into administration in July, has denied all wrongdoing and argued the case against him was politically motivated.

The 62-year-old has contested his extradition on the grounds that the loans he has been accused of defaulting on were sought to keep his airline afloat.  He said that he has offered to repay 100 per cent of the principal amount to the banks.

The Indian Government, however, argued that Mallya, who moved to Britain in March 2016, had no intention of repaying the money it borrowed from IDBI in 2009 and the loans had been taken out under false pretences, on the basis of misleading securities.