Chairman of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, Vijay Mallya, was arrested on Tuesday for the second time by UK authorities in connection with a case of wilful default of bank loans in India. He, however, was later released on a 6,50,000 pounds bail by a court here. The arrest was made in connection with an extradition request sent by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a case of money laundering related to the bank loan defaults. The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed the arrest on Tuesday. The CPS will be arguing the case against Mallya on behalf of the Indian government.
The 61-year-old businessman, already out on bail on an extradition warrant executed by the Metropolitan Police earlier this year, was released on the same bail conditions as before to appear for his extradition hearing on December 4. The earlier arrest had been made on a request by the CBI which first registered a case against Mallya.
Speaking to PTI, Mallya said that he had “done nothing wrong” and described the allegations against him as “fabricated”. The money laundering case is being probed by the ED based on the CBI FIR and the central probe agency has already filed a charge sheet against him and others in a Mumbai court.
The UB Group chief has been in the UK since he left India on March 2, 2016. The CPS told the court that the charges had been filed in India on June 14 and submitted as an evidence affidavit for the extradition case in the UK at the end of September.
This resulted in the CPS technically re-filing its extradition request in court on Tuesday, which has now “superseded” the previous ongoing case. Judge, Chief Magistrate Emma Louise Arbuthnot, agreed to formally re-open a fresh case while keeping to the same time-table as set before.
However, she concurred with Mallya’s defence team that there should be “nothing coming out of the woodwork” because if further evidence keeps coming in, it could put the December 4 trial date at “risk”.
ED sources said that his arrest on an extradition request by the agency was important as both the CBI and ED requests have to be processed by the concerned UK court to allow Mallya’s trial in India. “If ED’s request is not processed by the court, then he cannot be tried for money laundering after he is extradited to India,” an ED officer said. He, however, added that the second extradition request would not delay the process and will only strengthen India’s case for extradition as more evidence would now be examined by the court.