Vijay Mallya loses appeal against extradition in UK High Court
Business tycoon Vijay Mallya on Monday lost his High Court appeal in London challenging the 2018 order to extradite him to India. Mallya, the former Kingfisher Airlines boss, faces charges of fraud and money laundering to the tune of Rs. 9,000 crore in India. The appeal was dismissed by a two-member bench at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Justices Irwin and Elisabeth Laing ruled, "We consider that while the scope of the prima facie case found by the SDJ [Senior District Judge] is in some respects wider than that alleged by the Respondent in India [Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED)], there is a prima facie case which, in seven important respects, coincides with the allegations in India."
According to Hindustan Times, the judges rejected the six grounds on Mallya's appeal and upheld the judgment of SDJ Emma Arbuthnot. India, represented by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), has sought Mallya's extradition arguing the liquor baron's "three chapters of dishonesty": misrepresentations to various banks to acquire loans, the misuse of the loans and his conduct after the banks recalled the loans.
Reportedly, Mallya's lawyer, Claire Montgomery, had argued in court that his inability to repay loans was due to a genuine business failure stemming from wider challenges faced by the aviation industry. CPS lawyer Mark Summers argued that in extradition cases, British courts are only required to establish whether a person has a prima facie case to answer and not to establish the truth.
Reportedly, the verdict was issued over email due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown in the UK. The case will now go to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for a final decision on Mallya's extradition to India.
Back in December 2018, the Indian government had sought Mallya's extradition accusing him of "knowingly misrepresenting" the profitability of his companies while seeking loans in 2009. In July last year, a UK court had allowed him to appeal against the extradition. Mallya had fled India in March 2016 and has since been living in the United Kingdom.