The Indian government moved closer to bring back fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya after UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Monday approved the liquor baron’s extradition to India, PTI reported. The development comes after the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on December 9, 2018, ordered Mallya’s extradition.
Mallya, who is facing charges of fraud, money laundering and violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), can appeal against the decision of the UK Home Secretary within 14 days of the order. In case no appeal is made, he will be extradited within 28 days.
Modi Government clears one more step to get Mallya extradited while Opposition rallies around the Saradha Scamsters.
Javid, the UK’s senior-most Pakistani-origin minister, had to make a decision within two months of the day the case was sent. The UK Home Office confirmed that the minister had signed Mallya’s extradition order on Sunday.
“On February 3, the Secretary of State, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed the order for Vijay Mallya’s extradition to India. Vijay Mallya is accused in India of conspiracy to defraud, making false representations and money laundering offences,” PTI quoted a Home Office spokesperson as saying.
India welcomed the UK government’s decision on Mallya’s extradition. Sources said the Indian government now awaits early completion of the legal process.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley said the Modi government moved a step closer to get Mallya extradited. “Modi government clears one more step to get Mallya extradited while Opposition rallies around the Saradha Scamsters,” he said.
The 62-year-old, owner of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is wanted for wilful default of over Rs 9,000 crore of loans from different Indian banks. Last month, a special Prevention of Money Laundering (PML) court in Mumbai declared Mallya a fugitive economic offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders’ Act, 2018.
While ordering Mallya’s extradition, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court said there was “no evidence which allowed me to find that if extradited, Dr Mallya was at real risk of suffering a flagrant denial of justice”.
The court had rejected the defence arguments of possible rights abuse of Mallya in India’s jails and that Indian courts do political bidding. Mallya is on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017.