Absconding liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya has lost his application seeking leave to appeal against his extradition to India in the UK Supreme Court. This was his last legal option after he lost his High Court appeal against an extradition order last month. This ruling will be sent back for re-certification and the process of extradition would be triggered within 28 days.
Mallya had sought permission to move the UK Supreme Court after his the High Court had dismissed his appeal against an extradition order by Westminster Magistrates' Court. The order was certified by the UK Home Secretary. Indian government's response was filed earlier this week.
The leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is on a point of law of general public importance, which according to experts is a very high threshold that is not often met. Mallya, the promoter of now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is wanted in India on charges of money laundering and loan fraud.
Mallya, declared a fugitive by India, has been based in the UK since March 2016 and remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed three years ago by Scotland Yard on April 18, 2017.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot of Westminster Magistrates' Court, at the end of a year-long extradition trial in December 2018, had ruled that the former Kingfisher Airlines boss had a case to answer in the Indian courts.
She found there was clear evidence of dispersal and misapplication of the loan funds and accepted a prima facie case of fraud and a conspiracy to launder money against Mallya, which has now also been accepted by the High Court.
The Chief Magistrate had also dismissed any bars to extradition on the grounds of the prison conditions under which the businessman would be held, as she accepted the Indian government's assurances that he would receive all necessary medical care behind bars at Barrack 12 in Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai. The UK High Court upheld the 2018 ruling by Chief Magistrate Arbuthnot.
India and the UK have an Extradition Treaty signed in 1992 and in force since November 1993. Two major extraditions have taken place under this Treaty so far - Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, who was sent back to India in 2016 to face trial in connection with his involvement in the post-Godhra riots of 2002, and more recently alleged bookie Sanjeev Chawla, sent back in February this year to face match-fixing charges.
Earlier today, Mallya once again reiterated his offer to repay his pending loans in full and urged the government to close the case against him. In a tweet, he congratulated the Indian government over the Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus package, while lamenting that his repeated offers to repay his dues have been ignored.
(With PTI inputs)