In a huge victory for the Indian government in their efforts to bring back the fugitive economic offenders, the UK court on Monday ordered the extradition of Vijay Mallya to India. The liquor baron, who has been accused of defrauding Indian banks to a tune of Rs 9000 crore, was presented in front of the Westminster Magistrates' Court where the judge pronounced that he shall be extradited. Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot found prima facie a case against Mallya for fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
In the aftermath of the court's judgment, CBI expressed its delight. "We were confident while pursuing the extradition process. We hope to bring him soon as that the case against him concludes. CBI has its own inherent strength. We worked hard on the case and we are strong on law and facts," CBI spokesperson said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also expressed his pleasure on the recent development and welcomed the judgment by the UK court.
Following the recent judgment, Mallya has a right to appeal against the decision and has 14 days to do so. The verdict would now be referred to the Secretary of State, who shall have two months to decide on his extradition order. Only after the Secretary of State's decision will Mallya's appeal against the extradition be listed for hearing before the High Court.
His extradition comes a few days after Augusta Westland middleman Christian Michel was extradited to India from Dubai. Following that, Mallya had taken to Twitter, offering to pay the loans while claiming innocence.
"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 tweeted before adding, "I have offered to repay 100 per cent of the principal amount to them. Please take it."
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.