Vijay Mallya granted bail after brief arrest in London; India to press before UK court for his extradition
Absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya was arrested in London on Tuesday and is likely to be extradited to India soon.
New Delhi: Absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya was arrested in London on Tuesday and is likely to be extradited to India soon.
British authorities have informed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) about the arrest. Mallya was arrested at 9.30 am --London time.
The CBI and the Indian High Commission in London will present India's case in the UK court for extradition of controversial industrialist Vijay Mallya as the government looks to break the myth that a law breaker is out of bound once he is out of country.
A top source said India is seeking extradition of Mallya for defaulting on loans due to IDBI.
"We want to shatter this myth that by crossing boundaries you are out of bounds. Mallya extradition will act as an important test case," the source said.
The embattled businessman, who has been declared a proclaimed offender in India, was on Tuesday arrested in London by the Scotland Yard on India's request for his extradition on fraud charges.
The 61-year-old liquor baron, wanted in India for defaulting on loans, was arrested after he appeared at a central London police station this morning.
The flamboyant businessman, who once called himself 'The King of Good Times", was released on bail a few hours later.
"Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition Unit this morning arrested a man on an extradition warrant. Vijay Mallya was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud," Scotland Yard told PTI.
The Metropolitan Police said Mallya was arrested after attending a central London police station.
He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London and was seen walking out with his legal team a few hours later after being granted bail.
"It was a voluntary action. He will be out in a few minutes," said a member of Mallya's team at the court, without giving any further details of the bail conditions.
"Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected," Mallya tweeted soon after getting the bail.
Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016. He has repeatedly dismissed the charges against him.
Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.
— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) April 18, 2017
In his first reaction after getting bail, Vijay Mallya played down his arrest saying that it's usual Indian media hype. He also said that extradition hearing in Court has started today as expected.
The absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya was arrested in London on Tuesday. He is likely to be extradited to India soon.
In January, an Indian court ordered a consortium of lenders to start the process of recovering the loans.
India had given a formal extradition request for Mallya as per the Extradition Treaty between India and the UK through a note verbale on February 8.
While handing over the request, India had asserted that it has a "legitimate" case against Mallya and maintained that if an extradition request is honoured, it would show British "sensitivity towards our concerns".
Last month, setting in motion the process of extradition of Mallya, the British government had certified India's request and sent it to a district judge for further action.
The extradition process from the UK involves a number of steps including a decision by the judge whether to issue a warrant of arrest.
In case of a warrant, the person is arrested and brought before the court for preliminary hearing followed by an extradition hearing before a final decision is taken by the secretary of state.
The wanted person has a right to appeal to the higher courts against any decision all the way up to the supreme court.
Earlier in January this year, a CBI court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in the Rs 720-crore IDBI Bank loan default case.
Minister of State for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar said, "We are now assessing the facts how we can bring him back into the country and start judicial proceedings against him."
The government, he said, will leave no stone unturned to bring to justice anyone indulging in financial irregularities.
Mallya's arrest by the Scotland Yard in London underlines the Modi government's will to act against people accused of defrauding public resources, the BJP said.
It is a confirmation of the government's relentless efforts and commitment to act against those involved in illegal activities like generation of black money, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.
Right from the formation of a Special Investigation Team against black money in the first cabinet meeting under Modi to the current initiation of the extradition process against Mallya, the government has acted at every level, he said.
"Investigation agencies have a free hand to act without fear and favour," he said.
Mallya, whose now defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016, and was arrested at New Delhi's request for his extradition on fraud charges.
The Congress, however, assailed the Modi government for seeking Mallya's extradition and not deportation which, it said, would have ensured his immediate custody to India.
"Strange that he is detained and released in the same go...What kind of extradition is this. He is detained for an hour and is honourably granted bail and is defiant.
"Will it take another dozen years, 15 years, 30 years or our entire lifetime before Vijaya Mallya is brought back and Rs 9091 crore of people's money is recovered. These are questions that BJP and Modiji need to answer instead of hoodwinking people of India," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
He claimed that the action against Mallya came after a relentless campaign by the Congress party, its vice president Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders.
Noting that Mallya's detention was first of 9 steps of extradition with 3 possible appeals, the Congress leader asked "when will we have his custody? Why did BJP Govt not move for Mallya's deportation instead of extradition?"
Surjewala also questioned the government over its failure to bring back Lalit Modi, the former IPL commissioner, who is wanted by India for alleged money laundering. "Why is BJP government shying from moving against 'Chhota Modi' (Lalit Modi), who escaped to UK even before Mallya?" he asked.
Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, claimed consistent efforts by the Modi government had resulted in Mallya's arrest.
"Previous governments could not do anything about it. It is certainly the success of this government, particularly Finance Ministry, whose efforts resulted in his (Mallya) arrest," said Singh.
Amid all the political chest-thumping, former employees of Kingfisher Airlines talked about the bread and butter issue of getting their dues paid.
"Our main concern is that the government should get him (Mallya) to India and we should get our dues," former Kingfisher Airlines pilot Rahul Bhasin said in his reaction to Mallya's arrest.
"We appreciate government's efforts. They have done something, finally," Bhasin said.
Anirudha Ballala, another former Kingfisher Airlines pilot, said that the law is taking its course.
"Mallya is perhaps paying for the karmas (deeds) that he has done by not paying to employees," he added.