NEW DELHI: An appeal filed by liquor baron Vijay Mallya challenging the extradition order passed against him in December by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London has been rejected by Justice William Davis of the High Court of England and Wales.
Mallya, wanted in India on charges of cheating and money laundering to the tune of `9,000 crore, can now apply for an oral hearing before a High Court judge within five days. If that is accepted, the hearing will determine whether a full hearing should take place. Legal experts said a full hearing is usually considered only when fresh evidence is presented in the case.
In December, the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London had ruled that Mallya could be extradited to India to face fraud charges, mostly pertaining to loans taken for the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines. This was signed off by the Home Secretary Sajid Javed.
On March 31, following an interview by Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he claimed that, “Properties worth Rs 14,000 crore belonging to Vijay Mallya have been seized even though total liability against him stands at Rs 9,000 crore,” Mallya tweeted: “I humbly submit that my assertion that I am a poster boy is fully vindicated by the PM’s own statement about me (by name) that his Govt has recovered more than what I allegedly owe the Banks. Fact that I have been a UK resident since 1992 ignored...”
“...So the highest authority has confirmed full recovery. Why do BJP spokesmen continue their rhetoric?” he asked. Mallya has reportedly been residing in the UK since his departure from India.
The latest ruling marks a fresh legal setback for the UB Group chief, who just last week offered to curtail his “lavish” lifestyle in a bid to recoup some of the money he owed to the Indian banks. Mallya is required by the UK court order to live within an “ordinary living expenses allowance” of a maximum of 18,325.31 pounds a week, which he offered to cut down to 29,500 pounds a month during a hearing last week.