Vijay Mallya, founder and chairman of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

U.K. Court Allows Vijay Mallya’s Extradition To India

A U.K. court allowed Vijay Mallya’s extradition to India to face fraud and money laundering charges.

The Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London ruled against Mallya, Bloomberg reported. Judge Emma Arbuthnot found that he had made misrepresentations and said that it was a case of conspiracy to defraud, the report said.

The case will now be referred to the U.K.’s Home Office, which has to decide in two months, according to the order on the website of Bar & Bench. The court didn’t accept Mallya’s arguments that the charges against him are politically motivated and that he might get an unfair trial in India due to political pressure and the media reporting, the court ruled.

The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss is wanted in India on alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crore. He has been on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year.

The Indian government, the order said, levelled three allegations against Mallya. First, it alleged that Mallya along with other Kingfisher Airlines’ executives conspired with certain IDBI Bank officers at the time to get loans issued to the company by furnishing false information. Second, he allegedly made false representation to the bank to make gains, including information related to profitability and the value and availability of securities. And finally, Mallya allegedly conspired to launder money obtained from loans received by the company.

The judgment also ruled out the charge of the Central Bureau of Investigation’s probe being politically motivated.

The embattled billionaire, who is currently living in London, had last week offered to repay all his creditors fully. “Please take the money,” he wrote on Twitter. “I have offered to repay 100 percent of the principal amount to them. Please take it.”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley welcomed the U.K court’s decision in a tweet.

In 2016, a consortium of Indian banks, led by State Bank of India, had rejected an offer by the liquor baron to pay back nearly 80 percent of the principal loan amount owed to them.

Mallya has also argued the government is wrongfully pursuing him for alleged fraud. “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 had tweeted.

Airlines struggling financially partly because of high ATF (aviation turbine fuel) prices. Kingfisher was a fab airline that faced the highest ever crude prices of $140 per barrel. Losses mounted and that’s where banks money went.
Vijay Mallya

In August, he had cited poor jail conditions in India to stave off extradition following which India had to submit a video of Arthur Road Jail, where he is to be lodged.

The judge, however, ruled out the objection raised over prison conditions and the allegation that he will be denied a fair trial. “I do not accept that the courts in India are there to do what the politicians in India tell them to do,” the court held. “As I have already said, the courts will be under great scrutiny. I do not find any international consensus which would enable me to find that the judges in India are corrupt.”

The trial, which opened at the Magistrates’ Court on Dec. 4 last year, has gone through a series of hearings beyond the initial seven days earmarked for it.

Mallya has the opportunity to file an appeal against the court judgment and for which he will get 14 days.

Also read: Vijay Mallya Extradition Verdict: What Happens Next?