Fugitive Tycoon Vijay Mallya to be Extradited to India, Rules UK Court
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The ‘King of Good Times’ Vijay Mallya will be extradited to India to face the charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore. The Fate of the fugitive tycoon, who has been wanted in India since 2016 was decided by the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Monday.
Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot has found prima facie a case against Vijay Mallya for fraud, conspiracy and money laundering and referred the matter of his extradition to the Secretary of State of UK, Sajid Javid for passing an order on the verdict.
The decision has come as a major boost Indian investigating agencies, Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate that have been probing Mallya's case. While Vijay Mallya still seems to have hope in getting out of the situation, Indian authorities are eagerly awaiting his return to India.
Talking to news agency ANI, a CBI spokesperson expressed, “We hope to bring him soon and conclude the case. CBI has its own inherent strengths. We worked hard on this case. We are strong on law and facts and we were confident while pursuing the extradition process."
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has also hailed the verdict in a tweet but didn’t forget to target the preceding government by mentioning that the former Kingfisher boss benefitted during UPA rule but has been brought to justice by the NDA government.
Great Day for India. No one who cheats India will go scot free.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) December 10, 2018
The Judgement of UK’s Court is welcome. An offender benefited during the UPA. The NDA brings him to book.
What lies ahead of Vijay Mallya?
After returning to India, the businessman would be kept at Mumbai's largest and oldest prison - Arthur Road jail. An insider from prison has confirmed to the news agency PTI that the liquor mogul will stay in the high-security barracks in a two-storey building inside the prison complex, the same place where Mumbai terror attack terrorist Mohammad Ajmal Kasab was kept.
Mallya had earlier resisted the idea of returning to India stating that he is being politically plotted against. While the tycoon has an option to appeal to the higher court against the verdict, the Indian government would also have 14 days to file leave to appeal to the High Court, seeking permission to appeal against a decision not to extradite.
In case Mallya does not file an appeal despite the agreement by the Secretary of State with the magistrate's decision, he will be extradited from the UK within 28 days of the Home Secretary's extradition order.
Amendments in Order?
Mallya has refuted the money laundering claims against himself and even offered to pay back the principal amount in full in a series of tweets. In order to stop the narrative that he stole the money, the entrepreneur has claimed that he “did not borrow a single rupee” as the borrower was Kingfisher Airlines whereas he is merely a guarantor.
The 62-year-old has been on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April 2017. The extradition trial, which opened at the London court on December 4, 2017, seeks to prove there are no "bars to extradition" and that the tycoon is assured a fair trial in India over his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines' alleged default of over Rs 9,000 crores in loans from a consortium of Indian banks.
In a separate case, Mallya and the United Breweries Group (UBHL) have filed an application in the Karnataka High Court on June 22, 2018, seeking permission for the sale of available assets of approximately Rs 13,900 crores under judicial supervision and repay creditors, including the Public Sector Banks such amounts as may be directed and determined by the Court.