Europe & UK

July 03, 2019

UK High Court Allows Vijay Mallya To Appeal Against Being Extradited To India, Even As He Offers To Pay Back Banks


[ By Bobby Anthony ]

Vijay-Mallya

The Royal Courts of Justice in London (United Kingdom High Court) has granted billionaire defaulter Vijay Mallya the permission to appeal against being extradited to India.

After the judgment was delivered, Mallya, who faces fraud and money laundering charges amounting to Rs 9,000 crore in India, repeated his earlier offer to fully repay banks as well as tweeted that he would also like to pay his unpaid employees, besides other creditors.

Earlier, a two-member bench at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, comprising Justices George Leggatt and Andrew Popplewell, ruled that “arguments can be reasonably made” on some aspects of the prima facie case ruling by Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot in her extradition order of December 2018, which was signed by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Judge Leggatt stated that the Judge Arbuthnot had erroneously concluded that the Indian government had established a prima facie case.

Mallya’s counsel Clare Montgomery questioned the basis on which Judge Arbuthnot had arrived at certain conclusions. She claimed that Judge Arbuthnot had been wrong in accepting Indian authorities' claims that Mallya had fraudulent intentions when he sought loans for his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, or that he had made misrepresentations to banks to seek loans which he had no intentions to repay.

Montgomery questioned the admissibility of the evidence produced by the Indian government during the extradition trial and argued that Judge Arbuthnot had failed to recognize a “straightforward case a business failure”.

The High Court judges accepted Montgomery’s broad arguments on this ground and directed her to submit a draft for the appeal to proceed to a full hearing. However, they accepted Judge Arbuthnot's conclusions on all other aspects of the case which came up during an extradition trial in 2018.

They dismissed all other grounds based on which permission to appeal was sought, including so-called “extraneous circumstances” of Mallya being pursued by Indian authorities for political reasons.

Mallya’s counsel Montgomery had also tried to challenge UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid's signing the extradition order on “specialty” grounds under the India-UK Extradition Treaty. She claimed that there had been no guarantee provided from the Indian side that Mallya would not be arrested and tried for nearly 44 other cases filed against him in India, if were to be extradited.

Yet the judges ruled that no evidence had been produced to infer that there could be such a "breach of specialty".

The case will now proceed to a full hearing stage at the UK High Court.

Meanwhile, Mallya will remain on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017.

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