In a shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi government, the British government on Monday approved the extradition of fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya to India where he is wanted in the Rs 9,000-crore Kingfisher Airlines loan default case. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Monday signed the order to extradite Mallya which has already been allowed by a lower court.
A note issued by Press Officer Bethany Ditzel, citing a UK Home Office spokesperson, said: "On 3 February, 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. He has 14 days from today to apply for leave to appeal."
India has welcomed the decision by the British government to extradite Mallya. "While we welcome the UK government's decision in the matter, we await an early completion of the legal process for his extradition," said a source in the Indian government, adding they have taken note of the decision of the British Home Secretary. Welcoming the development, the CBI officials in New Delhi hoped to bring Mallya back to India soon and said that the agency was always strong on facts and legally, it was confident while pursuing the extradition process.
The decision of the British government gave the BJP bragging rights in the poll season with its leaders expected to tom-tom as a success during their speeches for the coming Lok Sabha elections. They are also expected to target the Congress which has often accuse the BJP leadership of not being successful in bringing back economic fugitives including Mallya.
Mallya, 63, left India on March 2, 2016 after defaulting on loan amounting to Rs 9,000 crore he had taken for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines but he has repeatedly denied fleeing the country, saying he is ready to pay back the money he owed to the Indian banks. A consortium of 13 banks- led by the State Bank of India (SBI)- has been preparing to initiate loan recovery proceedings against him. The proceedings are on before the Mumbai Special Court against Mallya under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.
Kingfisher began defaulting on loans in 2009-10. Late in 2017, India had filed extradition proceedings against Mallya which he contested. He is currently out on bail in London. 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 than Rs 12,000 crore, making it the first such case of its kind under the new FEOA (Fugitive Economic Offender Act) law.