In a massive success for Indian investigating agencies, UK Home Secretary on Monday cleared the decks for extradition of the embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya. He will face trial for charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crore.
The order for Vijay Mallya's extradition to India has been signed by UK Secretary of State Sajid Javid, as per UK government sources, TV news channels reported.
"On 3 February the Secretary of State, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed the order for Vijay Mallya's extradition to India," a UK Home Office spokesperson quoted as saying.
According to media report, the 62-year-old Mallya has 14 days to appeal in the higher court against the order.
Commenting on the development, Arun Jaitley, who is currently undergoing treatment in US, said it was another step to get Mallya home.
Modi Government clears one more step to get Mallya extradited while Opposition rallies around the Saradha Scamsters.- Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) February 4, 2019
"Modi Government clears one more step to get Mallya extradited while Opposition rallies around the Saradha Scamsters," Jaitley wrote on Twitter.
The matter of Mallya's extradition was pending with the Secretary of State who had to decide whether to agree or disagree with the verdict.
The decision came after a UK court decided that Mallya can be extradited back to India for his involvement in alleged loan fraud here.
Mallya had managed to escape to the United Kingdom in March 2016 after a consortium of lenders led by State Bank of India started legal proceedings to recover the loans. He has been living in the UK since then.
Last month, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court had declared Mallya a fugitive economic offender. The fugitive economic offender tag to Mallya empowers investigating agencies to seize assets of the fugitive liquor baron across India. These assets include his properties in Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi and Tamil Nadu. His two biggest properties, including 3.09-lakh square ft UB City area and Kingfisher Tower properties, are considered to be worth over Rs 2,000 crore. He also owns shares in multiple companies including United Breweries, United Spirit and McDowell Holdings.
Meanwhile, the order on the confiscation of Mallya's properties has been reserved for February 5, following which, if the court order goes against Mallya, the government will manage his assets under Rule 4 of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar