Indian business tycoon and an financial fugitive – Vijay Mallya just stepped closer to being shipped back to India for procurement of the money laundering cases, as British home secretary, Sajid Javid approved the extradition of the Kingfisher Airline boss to India on Monday.
On December 10, 2018, the London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court had ordered the extradition of Vijay Mallya to India, declaring him of being a “fugitive economic launder” for Rs 1600 crore bank loan cases in Indian banks. After the order of the court, UK’s senior-most minister Sajid Javid had three months to look into the case and sign off the extradition order. After considering all the details of the case, Javid approved the extradition of Mallya on the charges of “conspiracy to defraud and money laundering offences”.
Mallya now has a 14-day window to appeal to the UK High Court and is likely to prepare a lengthy appeal to defy the order of extradition by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court based on India’s file of evidence against Mallya and firm his extradition. The three-chapter evidence file by lawyer Mark Summers, representing India, accused him of masks made to banks to secure loans, deeds done with the loans, and actions he and his allies did when banks summoned for payback. All his assets valuing to Rs 10,421 crore are currently frozen and, the consortium of banks are now filing and bringing bankruptcy proceedings against Mallya.
While this is a positive development for the Indian government in bringing the fugitive frauds back to the country, the legal aspects of Vijay Mallya’s extradition to India are yet to be finalized – and the process is not complete yet. And unless the internal agencies develop capabilities and resolve the differences, Mallya or any other extradition will remain to be a challenge. If the Indian government manages to prosecute the extradition, it will be seen as a victorious achievement within the country. But for that to happen, the Indian agencies will have to give their best in the cause when Mallya reaches the UK court.