The Westminster Court says the liquor baron must be extradited to India..reports Asian Lite News
The Westminster Magistrate Court ruled that liquor baron Vijay Mallya should be extradited from the UK to India to face fraud charges.
Mr Mallya, wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore.
The matter of extradition of MrMallya to India has now been referred to the Secretary of State of UK. The Westminster Court has ordered his extradition in a major victory for Indian agencies. It comes just a week after AgustaWestland middleman Christian Michel was extradited by UAE.
“My employees are my first priority,” Mr Mallya told reporters before the trial. “In the last two years, we’ve made two separate applications to the court to use the money deposited in the court to pay employees. The court hasn’t given us a decision. If the court accepts my settlement offer, pay the employees first.”
“Whatever the judgment is, my legal team will review it and take appropriate action,” he added.
Vijay Mallya also said that his desire to repay his debt, announced in a tweet last week, is genuine. Mallya said, “I want to disprove the narrative that I stole money. There is nothing ingenuine about my offer, I have made the offer before court of law. I won’t disrespect the court by making a bogus offer.”
The 62-year-old liquor baron is wanted in India for defaulting Indian banks to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore besides allegations of money laundering and diversion of funds. As pressure from banks mounted, Vijay Mallya fled the country for London on March 2, 2016. He allegedly succeeded in feeling India after dilution of a CBI lookout notice against him.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss has been out on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year.
Late in 2017, India filed extradition proceedings against him which he has contested and pending the final verdict in the case, he is currently on bail in London. The court is set to pronounce its verdict on December 10.
“Airlines struggling financially partly because of high ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel) prices. Kingfisher was a fab(ulous) airline that faced the highest ever crude prices of $140/barrel. Losses mounted and that’s where banks money went.”I have offered to repay 100 per cent of the principal amount to them. Please take it,” Mallya tweeted.
Kingfisher began defaulting on loans beginning 2009-10.
Hitting out at the political parties and media for accusing him of running away with the money, the head of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines said that all of the accusation was false.
“Politicians and media are constantly talking loudly about my being a defaulter who has run away with PSU (public sector undertaking) banks’ money.
“All this is false. Why don’t I get fair treatment and the same loud noise about my comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court. Sad,” he said.
On September 12, during the hearing of his case in London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Mallya told reporters that he left India after meeting Finance Minister ArunJaitley in 2016, which the minister called “factually false”.
“I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. I met the Finance Minister before I left… repeated my offer to settle with the banks. That is the truth.”
Mallya had said he had also told Jaitley that he was leaving for London.
Mallya, who left India on March 2, 2016, also claimed that he had made a comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court.
The liquor barron also pointed out that for three decades by running India’s largest alcoholic beverage group, he contributed thousands of crores to the state exchequers.
“Kingfisher Airlines also contributed handsomely to the states. Sad loss of the finest Airline but still I offer to pay banks so no loss. Please take it,” he said in another tweet.
Mallya is wanted for committing alleged bank frauds of Rs 9,000 crore, and is currently holed up in the UK, fighting several cases.
On June 22, the Enforcement Directorate had moved the Special PMLA Court to declare Mallya a ‘fugitive economic offender’ and confiscate all his properties, estimated at more Rs 12,000 crore, making it the first such case of its kind under the new FEOA (Fugitive Economic Offender Act) law.