By ANAND SINGH
New Delhi– Indian fugitive business tycoon and founder of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya can be extradited to India “anytime in the coming days” as all the legal process has been completed, top sources in the government said on Wednesday.
As per sources in London, now that Mallya’s legal options in the UK have exhausted, he may still attempt to pull strings in the office of UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who gets to have the final say on his extradition to India.
The development comes in the wake of Mallya losing his appeal in the UK top court on May 14 against his extradition to India.
A top Enforcement Department source related to the development told IANS: “We will soon bring back Mallya to India anytime in the coming days.”
However, he remained tight-lipped on the exact date of the extradition.
He said: “As he has lost his appeal in the UK Supreme Court there, we have completed all the legal process for his extradition.”
The teams of CBI and the ED are already working on the process of extradition to India.
A CBI source related to the development said that after Mallya’s extradition, they wil take his custody first as they were the first agency to file a case against him.
A major roadblock in the extradition was cleared on May 14 when Mallya lost the case. Now the Narendra Modi government will have to bring him back in the next 28 days. Since May 14, it has already been more than 20 days since the UK court rejected his plea.
The former parliamentarian, who ran India’s largest spirits company, United Spirits, and founded the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, faces charges of fraud and money laundering worth Rs 9,000 crore. He left India in March 2016 under the pretext of personal reasons.
Mallya is accused of defrauding at least 17 Indian banks, drawing loans which he allegedly routed to gain full or partial stake in about 40 companies abroad.
After losing an appeal in the London High Court on April 20 against an extradition order to India, he had filed an appeal in the UK Supreme Court last month.
On May 14, after the court ruling, Mallya once again made an offer to the Indian government that he will repay 100 per cent of his loan dues provided the case against him was closed. Mallya, however, said that his repeated offers to repay his dues have been ignored by the Modi government.
Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a statement had said that the UK High Court order to extradite Mallya was a “milestone” in the agency’s quest for excellence and a reminder that economic offenders facing probes in large value frauds cannot consider themselves above the process merely because they have changed jurisdictions.
A CBI spokesperson said in a statement: “The decision of the UK High Court to order extradition of Mallya is a milestone in CBI’s quest for excellence and a reminder that economic offenders, facing probes in large value frauds, cannot consider themselves above the process merely because they have changed jurisdictions.”
The spokesperson said the judgement also vindicated the “painstaking investigation” by the CBI, especially since Mallya had raised various issues with regard to the admissibility of evidence, the fairness of the investigation itself and extraneous consideration with a view to “divert attention” from his own acts.
The CBI official further said that the extradition of Mallya was sought so he could face trial for offences of cheating, criminal conspiracy and abuse of official position by public servants, wherein Mallya faced allegations of conspiring with public servants and dishonestly defrauding the IDBI Bank to the extent of Rs 900 crore.
The CBI had filed a charge sheet against Mallya and others on January 24, 2017 which was followed by a request for his extradition on January 31 in the same year. Based on the request, Mallya was arrested by the UK authorities on April 20, 2017. (IANS)