Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, wanted in India on alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crores, is set to appear before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court when his extradition trial is listed for a judgment hand-down.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss has been on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year. He has contested his extradition on the grounds that the case against him is “politically motivated” and the loans he has been accused of defrauding on were sought to keep his now-defunct airline afloat.
“I 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,” he said in his recent Twitter post on the issue.“I have offered to repay 100 per cent of the principal amount to them. Please take it,” the flamboyant businessman tweeted earlier.
In relation to the defence’s attempts to dispute Indian prison conditions as a bar to Mallya’s extradition on human rights grounds, the judge had indicated to the CPS that she did not require any further information in reference to the prison conditions awaiting Mallya at Barrack 12 of Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail after seeking a video of the cell.
“If the judge is satisfied that all of the procedural requirements are met, and that none of the statutory bars to extradition apply, he or she must send the case to the Secretary of State for a decision to be taken on whether to order extradition,” explains Pavani Reddy, a UK-based legal expert and Managing Partner of Zaiwalla & Co.
The judge’s decision on whether to send Mallya’s case to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid can be appealed with the UK High Court’s permission, with the person to be extradited entitled to make an application for permission to appeal to the High Court within 14 days of the date of the Chief Magistrate’s ruling.
On the other hand, the Indian government would also have 14 days to file leave to appeal to the High Court, seeking permission to appeal against a decision not to extradite.“In case the concerned individual does not file an appeal, and Secretary of State agrees with the magistrate’s decision, then the individual must be extradited from the UK within 28 days of the Home Secretary”s extradition order.
“This will also apply if an appeal lodged by either party in the High Court is unsuccessful, but the 28 days will commence from the date when the appeal hearing was concluded,” said Reddy.If the judgment goes ahead as scheduled on Monday, it would mark a significant point in this high-profile extradition trial that has lasted over a year.