Upholding the Charges of CBI, ED, UK Court Orders Vijay Mallya's Extradition

malyaThe UK’s Westminster Magistrates’ court on Monday ordered the extradition of fugitive Indian businessman Vijay Mallya to India. Chief Magistrate, Judge Emma Arbuthnot took this decision bringing a major boost to India’s efforts to bring back the former Kingfisher Airline boss, wanted for alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting 9000 crore. The verdict is a major breakthrough in the case for India’s investigation agencies, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the enforcement directorate (ED), which have charged Mallya with defaulting loans.

Mallya left the country on 2nd March 2016, the day public sector banks, to which he owed an estimated 9000 crore in loans, moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal against him. The loans from the state-owned IDBI bank were intended to bail out his failed carrier Kingfisher Airlines but were not actually used for the stated purpose.

The 62-year-old Mallya has been on bail since his arrest on extradition warrant in April last year.Mallya has been fighting to remain in UK. He also opposed his extradition on the grounds that the case against him is ‘politically motivated’, but Judge Arbuthnot said he had misrepresented how loans received from banks would be used and therefore had a case to answer. She said bankers had been ‘charmed’ by a ‘glamorous, flashy, famous, bejeweled, bodyguarded, ostensibly billionaire playboy’ into losing their common sense. The trial, which opened at the Magistrates' Court on December 4 last year, has gone through a series of hearings beyond the initial seven days earmarked for it.

The case will not be sent to the home secretary for a decision on whether to order his extradition. However, Mallya can appeal in the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court and even the European Court of Justice, depending on how Brexit plays out. He said his legal team would review the verdict and consider options. Arbuthnot, however, made it clear that the CBI had a solid case against the businessman, rejecting his entire defense.

Following the UK court’s order, Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, India said, “It’s a great day for India. No one who cheats India will go scot-free. The judgment of UK’s Court is welcomed”.

The CBI too welcomed the decision. “We hope to bring him soon and conclude the case. CBI has its own inherent strengths. We worked hard on this case. We are strong on law and facts and were confident while pursuing extradition process,” says CBI spokesperson.

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