Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya loses another appeal in UK Court against extradition

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Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya on Thursday inched closer towards his extradition from the UK to India over charges of financial fraud, as the London High Court rejected his appeal to move the UK Supreme Court against his extradition, which was sought after by India on account of alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to Rs 9,000 crores.

Mallya’s extradition was ordered in December 2018 by the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London 2019, and was then signed off on by then UK Home Secretary Sajiv Javid in 2019, who noted that the multi-millionaire was “accused in India of conspiracy to defraud, making false representations and money-laundering offences”. Since then, Mallya has attempted to challenge the decision in court.

Last month, the London High Court rejected his appeal against extradition, noting that there was a “prima facie case both of misrepresentation and of conspiracy…and of money laundering”.

Following this, Mallya was left with no option but to issue a request to appeal to the Supreme Court. This request was just rejected, on the grounds that his case was not deemed a “point of law of general public importance”.

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The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), rejected his appeal on all three points: To hear oral submissions, to grant a certificate on the questions drafted by his defence team, and to grant permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The decision, by judges Stephen Irwin and Elisabeth Laing,

Now, under the India-UK Extradition Treaty, the UK Home Office will have to formally certify the court order for Mallya, 64, to be extradited to India within 28 days.

Mallya’s legal team had sought to challenge the Indian government’s case on multiple grounds, including whether their client would be safe at Barrack 12 in Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai where he is to be held on extradition.

Mallya could also attempt to approach the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that his human rights could be at risk if he is extradited to India, but the CPS has said that “the removal process, however, can continue until such time as it is stayed by the ECHR”.

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Mallya fled India in 2016 after his erstwhile company, Kingfisher Airlines, was accused of taking out loans to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore which he allegedly had no intention of repaying.

Mallya has repeatedly said that he is willing to repay the entire amount the airlines had borrowed from the banks. However, banks have not been willing to take him up on his offer, nor has the Enforcement Directorate been willing to release his seized assets.

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