Vijay Mallya: U.K. Home Secretary Orders Mallya’s Extradition To India
The U.K. Home Secretary approved the extradition request of Indian authorities to bring back Vijay Mallya to face fraud and money laundering charges.
He, however, has 14 days to appeal this order in the U.K. high court and thereafter has the opportunity to appeal in the Supreme Court, as per the rules of the U.K’s extradition treaty. Unless there is an appeal, a requested person must be extradited within 28 days of the Secretary of State’s decision to order extradition.
Mallya on Twitter said he will initiate an appeal process.
If Mallya goes ahead with an appeal to the high court, it will hear both his appeals against the secretary’s order as well as the decision of the magistrate to send his case to the secretary in the first place. During this, he will get to argue all aspects of the case, including whether his guilt has been prima facie established, as well as his arguments on jail conditions and fair trial. The appeals are only likely to be heard after several months, subject to the high court’s schedule, and could take a further few months for the hearings to be completed.
It could take six months to two years until Mallya returns to India, Supreme Court Advocate Majeed Memon told BloombergQuint. An appeal in the high court has wider powers to go into the merits of evidence which the magistrate did not have or the secretary may not have done so, he said. “The entire crown prosecution case and defense will be heard (in high court), and thereafter the court may choose to set aside or confirm the magistrate’s order.”
The 63-year-old businessman, who fled India in March 2016, had lost a legal challenge against his extradition in a British court in December. Under the extradition treaty procedures, the chief magistrate’s verdict was sent to the home secretary because only he is authorised to order Mallya’s extradition.
Mallya is wanted in India on alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crore in debt accumulated by Kingfisher Airlines—a full-service carrier he founded in 2005 until it shut seven years later. He has been on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year.
He had also argued that the Indian government is wrongfully pursuing him for alleged fraud. 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 U.K. court, however, ruled out the objection raised over prison conditions and the allegation that he will be denied a fair trial.
Earlier in January, he became the first businessman to be declared a fugitive economic offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act which came into existence in August last year.
(With inputs from PTI)
Watch Majeed Memon explain what this order means.