Vijay Mallya extradition: UK court begins hearing on plea
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: UK's Royal Courts of Justice has commenced hearing on fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s plea against his extradition to India to face fraud and money laundering charges amounting to ?9,000 crore. The hearing will be held until Thursday, with a verdict likely soon after or at a later date.
The 64-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who is on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April 2017, had sought permission from the High Court to appeal against the extradition order.
Mallya’s counsel Clare Montgomery said the extradition order passed by Westminster Magistrate’s Court in December 2018 had “multiple errors" and was “plain wrong" in accepting Indian authorities’ assertions that he had fraudulent intentions.
“I still want the banks to take all their money, do what they have to do and leave me in peace," Mallya had said.
In July, a two-member high court bench had said “arguments can be reasonably made" on some aspects of the prima facie case ruling by the Westminster court in its December 2018 extradition order.
“By far the most substantial ground is that the senior district judge (Emma Arbuthnot of Westminster Magistrate’s Court) was wrong to conclude that the government had established a prima facie case," the high court said in July.
Mallya had, in the past, challenged his extradition on grounds of human rights conditions in Indian jails and contested that the case against him was politically motivated. The loans he has been accused of defaulting on were sought to keep his now-defunct airline afloat, Mallya reiterated.
The matter first came to light when the Central Bureau of Investigation, following a complaint by the State Bank of India (SBI), registered a case against Mallya in August 2016.
The Enforcement Directorate filed a chargesheet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in June 2017, alleging that Mallya fled to the UK on 2 March 2016 as a consortium of 13 banks, led by the State Bank of India, closed in on him.