Vijay Mallya arrested in London following India's extradition request
London, April 18, 2017
Well-known businessman Vijay Mallya, who is wanted by Indian authorities for allegedly failing repay loans worth more than Rs. 9000 crore given by a consortium of leading Indian banks to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, the high profile airline launched by his UB Group, was arrested in London today, official sources said.
Mr. Mallya was produced before the Westminster Magistrates Court in Central London, where he was granted conditional bail. The next hearing in the case will be held on May 17.
India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had written to the United Kingdom government in April last year seeking the deportation of Mr. Mallya, who had left India on March 2, 2016.
In response to India's request, the UK authorities had recently begun the legal process for extraditing Mr. Mallya to India. But there are several legal formalities that have to be gone through before a wanted person can be extradited to India under UK laws.
"Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday 18 April arrested a man on an extradition warrant," a brief statement from London's Metropolitan Police Service, popularly known as Scotland Yard, said.
"Vijay Mallya, 61 (18/12/1955), was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud. He was arrested after attending a central London police station, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court later today, 18 April," the statement added.
Mr. Mallya, however, said there was the usual media hype over his arrest and that the extradition hearing had started in court today as expected.
"Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
In January, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mr. Mallya in a case relating to the alleged default of a Rs. 720 crore from IDBI Bank.
In between, Mr. Mallya had tried to settle the issue with the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI), offering an amount of Rs. 4000 crore, but the banks did not accept the offer.
India had requested the UK to deport Mr. Mallya so that his presence could be secured for investigations against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
Among other things, he had been accused of diverting abroad a part of the loan Kingfisher had taken from IDBI.
Earlier, on April 24, 2016, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that it had revoked Mr. Mallya's passport.
The decision to revoke the passport was taken after taking into consideration the replies furnished by Mr. Mallya to a show cause notice issued to him by the Ministry, facts brought by Enforcement Directorate, and non-bailable warrant under the PMLA Act 2002 issued by Special Judge, Mumbai.
Mr. Mallya, 61, who was then a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, has denied that he had fled from the country and asserted that he was not an "absconder".
Mr. Mallya was supposed to present himself before ED officials on April 15, 2016 but had failed to do so. That was the third time that the ED had summoned him, but Mr. Mallya had sought an extension on the previous occasions.
The sanction of loans for the airline is also being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office.
The Opposition had said at that time that Mr. Mallya could not have left the country without the active support of the Government when the consortium of 17 banks had urged the Supreme Court to stop him from leaving India.
The Government had hit back by saying that most of the loans were sanctioned by banks during the tenure of the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in the Lok Sabha last year that the first sanction for the loans was given by a consortium of banks in September, 2004. The additional amounts and second renewal, were given on February 7, 2008. The accounts were declared as non-performing accounts on April 30, 2009.
"Thereafter, notwithstanding the fact that they had been declared non-performing accounts in 2009, a restructuring was done on 21st of December, 2010. So, these dates speak for themselves. I am just giving you a total amount with interest. As on 30th of November, 2015, that is four months ago, along with all interests compounded, the total amount due is to the tune of Rs.9,091.40 crore," he had said.
Mr. Jaitley had also asserted then that Mr. Mallya's assets were being attached and that the banks would make all efforts to recover the entire amount due to them.