A London court on Monday ordered the extradition of beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya to India. Mallya, who has been absconding and living in the UK since March 2015, is wanted in India for defrauding on loans worth Rs 9,000 crore. He was out on bail since 2017 when Indian authorities approached court for an extradition. Mallya is now expected to approach a higher court.
Mallya owes close to Rs 10,000 crore, including interest, to a consortium of 13 Indian banks. There are multiple bailable and non-bailable warrants issued against him in various courts of India following complaints by numerous government agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot of London's Westminster Magistrates Court found a prima facie case against Vijay Mallya for fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. The matter has now been referred to the Secretary of State.
Reacting on this development, a CBI spokesperson said, â€śWe 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.â€ť
Prior to Mondayâ€™s verdict, Mallya had tweeted saying that he had offered to repay his loans and salaries due to now defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
He had tweeted, â€śWherever I am physically, my appeal is 'please take the money'. I want to stop the narrative that I stole money," he had tweeted last week.â€ť
In subsequent tweets, he said, â€śI did not borrow a single rupee. The borrower was Kingfisher Airlines. Money was lost due to a genuine and sad business failure. Being held as guarantor is not fraud."
His legal counsel had argued that Mallya should not be extradited to India as jails in India â€śdo not have proper light and airâ€ť.
Meanwhile, Mallya is contesting a case in the Supreme Court of India over a special Mumbai court verdict to declare him a fugitive economic offender and attach his assets.