Vijay Mallya arrested in London, released on bail within hours
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New Delhi: Businessman Vijay Mallya was arrested by the Scotland Yard in London on Monday on India’s request for his extradition on fraud charges. He was released on bail a few hours later after he appeared at a central London police station.
“Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Extradition Unit this morning arrested a man on an extradition warrant. Vijay Mallya was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud,” said the Scotland Yard.
The London Metropolitan Police said Mallya was arrested after appearing at a central London police station. He appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court in London and was seen walking out with his legal team a few hours later after being granted bail.
An unfazed Mallya later tweeted on Tuesday, “Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.”
Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) April 18, 2017
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Indian High Commission in London will now present India’s case in the UK court for Vijay Mallya’s extradition as the country “wants to the myth that by crossing boundaries you are out of bounds“, said a person aware of the developments. India is seeking extradition of Mallya for defaulting on Kingfisher Airlines loans due to IDBI Bank.
CBI has been investigating a case against Mallya and the companies he controlled over allegations of money laundering since early last year and had secured a non-bailable warrant against the absconding businessman in a case related to money laundering and wilful default of loans, Mint reported on 22 November. CBI clarified that the arrest was in connection with his extradition.
“Vijay Mallya has been arrested in connection with the IDBI bank case. We cannot comment further on the matter till it is heard at the London Court,” a senior CBI official told Mint, on condition of anonymity.
A senior government official on condition of anonymity stated that, “protocol would now require Mallya’s case to be heard in London. The extradition case will be heard and evidence related to the same will be produced on the basis of which the London courts will take an informed decision. It is too soon to comment on when he will be extradited to India.”
On 23 January, CBI’s central and Bengaluru division raided the premises of the Vijay Mallya-run UB Group in Bengaluru in connection with a Rs900-crore loan default and money laundering case. On the same day, CBI arrested nine officials of Kingfisher Airlines and IDBI Bank Ltd, including the bank’s former chief.
In September 2016, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had issued the order, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), to attach the various properties including flats, a farmhouse, shares and fixed deposits in Mallya’s name and his associate firms. The agency had earlier said that the market value of these assets was Rs6,630 crore.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had stated that India’s request for Mallya’s extradition had recently been certified by the UK, after the UK’s home department on 21 February conveyed India’s request for Mallya’s extradition to the Westminster magistrate’s court, after being certified by the UK secretary of state. However, with Mallya’s extradition proceedings just beginning in the UK, India may well have to wait till he is handed over by the British authorities.
In New Delhi, MoS (finance) Santosh Kumar Gangwar said, “We are now assessing the facts how we can bring him back into the country and start judicial proceedings against him.” The government, he said, will leave no stone unturned to bring to justice anyone indulging in financial irregularities.
On 23 March, MoS (external affairs) V.K. Singh informed the Rajya Sabha that while India and the UK had an Extradition Treaty which has been in force since 1993, “In the last five years, only one fugitive criminal namely Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel has been extradited from the UK. As per Article 2 of the India-UK Extradition Treaty, an extradition offence for the purposes of this Treaty is constituted by conduct which under the laws of each Contracting State is punishable by a term of imprisonment for a period of at least one year. An offence may be an extradition offence notwithstanding that it relates to taxation or revenue or is one of a purely fiscal character.”
Singh also added that the extradition requests in respect of criminal fugitives namely Raymond Varley, Ravi Shankaran, Velu Boopalan, Ajay Prasad Khaitan, Virendra Kumar Rastogi and Anand Kumar Jain had been rejected by the UK government.
Meanwhile, S.S.Naganad, who is the senior counsel appearing for the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India stated that, “There was more than one issue against him (Mallya). There was money laundering case, Karnataka high court has issued an arrest warrant, a magistrate court has also issued an arrest warrant. All this put together is what the Indian government had sought an extradition for.”
Sharan Poovanna in Bengaluru contributed to this story.