Beleaguered Indian industrialist Vijay Mallya lost an appeal against his extradition order to India in the U.K. High Court. Mallya, the former owner of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is charged with fraud and money laundering to the tune of ₹9,000 crore. “The case will now go to U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel for a final call,” read a report in ndtv.com.
A consortium of Indian banks led by the country’s largest lender State Bank of India along with the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate have been seeking Mallya’s return to India to face the law. Mallya has been residing in London since March 2016.
According to news agency reports, Lord Justice Stephen Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing, the two-member bench at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, dismissed the appeal in a judgment handed down remotely due to the current coronavirus lockdown in London.
"We consider that while the scope of the prima facie case found by the SDJ [Senior District Judge] is in some respects wider than that alleged by the Respondent in India [Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED)], there is a prima facie case which, in seven important respects, coincides with the allegations in India," they ruled.
In February, 64-year-old Mallya, the former boss of United Spirits Limited and United Breweries Limited, had appealed in the U.K. High Court against his 2018 extradition order to India. In April 2017, Mallya was arrested in London on India's request for extradition, but was granted bail shortly thereafter.
Almost three weeks ago, Mallya had asked finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to consider his offer to repay 100% of the money he borrowed from banks for his erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines. “I wish the FM would listen in this time of crisis,” Mallya tweeted on March 31, alluding to the fact that the Indian government would need all available funds at its disposal to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have made repeated offers to pay 100% of the amount borrowed by KFA [Kingfisher Airlines] to the banks. Neither are banks willing to take money and neither is the ED [Enforcement Directorate] willing to release their attachments which they did at the behest of the banks,” he tweeted.