Fugitive liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya on Monday lost a High Court appeal in the UK against his extradition order to India. In February 2019, the 64-year old businessman had appealed to the UK High Court against his extradition. "We consider that while the scope of the prima facie case found by the SDJ [Senior District Judge] is in some respects wider than that alleged by the Respondent in India [Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED)], there is a prima facie case which, in seven important respects, coincides with the allegations in India," news agency PTI reported the judges' ruling.
A bankruptcy order was sought against Vijay Mallya by a consortium of the Indian public sector banks led by State Bank of India (SBI). The consortium seeks to recover nearly Rs 9,000 crore of unpaid loans from the embattled liquor baron. Vijay Mallya was chairman of United Breweries (UB) Group which has diverse interests in brewing, distilling, real estate, biotechnology and information technology. He fled India in March 2016 and has been living in the UK since then.
In March, the Supreme Court adjourned a plea filed by Mallya, requesting a stay on proceedings initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to declare him as a fugitive economic offender and confiscate his assets amounting to Rs 9,000 crore.
Vijay Mallya last month tweeted that he had made repeated offers to pay 100 per cent of the amount Kingfisher Airlines had borrowed from the banks. He said, "Neither are Banks willing to take money and neither is the ED willing to release their attachments which they did at the behest of the Banks." Vijay Mallya also wished that the Finance Minister would listen to him in times of this crisis.
"Indian Government has done what was unthinkable in locking down the entire Country. We respect that. All my Companies have effectively ceased operations. All manufacturing is closed as well. Yet we are not sending employees home and paying the idle cost. The has to help," he also tweeted.
What happens next
After this verdict, Vijay Mallya has two routes to appeal to the Supreme Court by inviting the High Court justices within 14 days from today to certify that there is a point of general public importance involved in the case, India Today reported citing a lawyer. In case certification is granted, the matter will proceed to the Supreme Court on an appeal, it added. Otherwise, Vijay Mallya has 28 days from now to appeal to the Supreme Court seeking permission to appeal against the decision of the High Court. Any permission to appeal may take up to 2 to 3 months or so to be decided by the Supreme court, it said. The actual appeal proceedings may take anything from 6 to 18 months to conclude in case of permission being granted, it further said.
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