NEW DELHI: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Monday lost his appeal in the UK High Court against his extradition to India. He is wanted for alleged fraud and money laundering to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.
Mallya now can appeal to the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom within 14 days and the European Court of Human Rights.
If he does apply, the UK Home Office will wait for the outcome of the appeal. But if he does not, under the India-UK Extradition Treaty, it will then be expected to formally certify the court order for the 64-year-old Mallya to be extradited to India within 28 days.
The court order passed by Lord Justice Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing upheld the order passed earlier at the Westminster Court and found conspiracy by Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines, false representations, and deceit at several levels and accepted the argument by the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the Indian government that Mallya’s company had offered outrageous lies to obtain bank loans.
“We consider that while the scope of the prima facie case found by the SDJ (Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot) is in some respects wider than that alleged by the Respondent in India (CBI and ED), there is a prima facie case which, in seven important respects, coincides with the allegations in India,” the judges noted.
“... The appellant was party to false representations to induce the loans that funds would be inducted by way of unsecured loans, global depository receipts and equity,” the order stated.
It also found Mallya guilty of “symbolic and grossly inadequate security in the form of a negative lien on 12 hire purchase aircraft, despite knowing that KFA would not get title to them during the period of the loan. The appellant’s dishonest intention not to repay the loans is shown by his later conduct in trying to avoid the personal and corporate guarantees.”
This marks a major turning point for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) case against Mallya, who has been on bail in the UK since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April 2017.
“It is a significant achievement in continuing war against the economic fugitives who have been managing to stay away from the judicial process in the country,” CBI spokesperson RK Gaur said.
Mallya had sought to challenge the Indian government’s case on multiple grounds, including his safety at Barrack 12 in Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai where he is to be held on extradition.
India and the UK have an Extradition Treaty signed in 1992 and in force since November 1993. So far, only one successful extradition has taken place and 131 requests made so far. Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel was sent back to India in 2016 to face trial for his involvement in the post-Godhra riots in 2002.
Extradition is only possible in cases that are seen as crimes in both countries in question.
In the past, the Indian government failed to get a favourable judgment in Nadeem Saifi extradition case.
In 1997, India sought Saifi’s custody in relation to the Gulshan Kumar murder case in which Gangster Abu Salem was the main accused.