In a setback for absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya, London's Westminster Magistrates' Court Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot on Monday ordered for his extradition to India. And while it is a shot in the arm for CBI, ED and others fighting to bring back Mallya to face Indian law, the man accused of being a 'wilful defaulter' may not be getting onto an India-bound plane anytime soon.
While Monday's order has indeed been seen as a major achievement in the case, the matter will go to Secretary of State Sajid Javid who can either agree or disagree with the verdict. If he does agree, Mallya - as per UK law - has the right to appeal in the High Court and then to the Supreme Court in UK. Many experts on extradition rules suggest that this entire process could take as long as 18 months.
In case Javid disagrees, the crown prosecution too has the right to appeal in High Court and then to the Supreme Court.
On paper, if an accused does not file an appeal, and the Secretary of State agrees with the original verdict, the accused has to be extradited from UK within 28 days. In this particular case, however, Mallya had already said that his lawyers would review an unfavourable judgement. Therefore, he is likely to file an appeal and this could mean getting him back to India could still be a long-drawn process.
Mallya is wanted in India on alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crores.