Liquor baron Vijay Mallya created a major flutter in the media across India when he was arrested in the UK by the Scotland Yard police. But soon after he was produced before a court, he was granted bail. So, what next?
Liquor baron and wilful bank defaulter Vijay Mallya were arrested in London today by the Scotland Yard police. He was produced before a magistrate who granted him bail.
Mallya soon took to twitter thumbing his nose at the media hype.
Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.
— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) April 18, 2017
He said the extradition proceedings had only just begun as expected, indicating that the arrest was only a formality and not a major breakthrough as the media in India had painted.
But the fact remains that a major step has indeed been taken by UK in getting the extradition process kick-started. It is almost two months after India had given a formal extradition request to the UK as per the Extradition Treaty on February 8.
So what next?
The extradition proceedings would continue, but unlike courts in India, the process would not stretch to eternity.
If the court throws out the extradition plea, Mallya can continue to be in the UK as a fugitive. But India has worked overtime in preparing a foolproof dossier to get the King of Good Times to justice in India.
If India proves that Mallya is a wilful bank defaulter and that he faces not just serious criminal charges but also various lookout notices, he would well be on his way to India soon. He has also refused to respect any of the warrants issued by various courts across India, including the Supreme Court.
Mallya could be brought back to India, but extracting money from him would be a legal nightmare. At best, he could be cooling his heels in some jail as the courts mount pressure on him, like in the case of Subrato Roy of Sahara Group.
Mallya was produced before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court where he applied for bail and got it
Earlier, the liquor baron was produced before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court where he applied for bail and got it.But what needs flagging here is that the arrest is a significant development as Britain has given a message that it accepted India’s “extradition request”. That was earlier a thorny issue.
Now it is in the hands of the UK judges to send Mallya back to India. If that indeed happens, it would be a major achievement for Prime Minster Narendra Modi who had promised the electorate to bring the liquor baron to books.
Modi took special interest in the issue as his political image got a beating when the Opposition parties, especially the Congress, asked him why banks were after poor farmers while Mallya was enjoying in London and that the government looked shamefully helpless.
When British Prime Minister Theresa May had visited India, Mallya’s case was high on the agenda. Due credit should also be given to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who subtly used diplomatic channels and backroom negotiations to push the Mallya file across the table to UK authorities.
Mallya owes over Rs 9,000 crore to lenders like SBI, PNB, IDBI Bank, BoB, Allahabad Bank, Federal Bank and Axis Bank, among others
The King of Good Times, Mallya, owes PSU banks in India a whopping Rs 9000 crore.
But Mallya has been saying that he does not owe a penny and that it is his companies that owe and that he was just one of the directors. He has also been saying that a lot of money has to come to him from various sources.
Mallya flew to Britain in March 2016 after being pursued in courts by banks seeking to recover about Rs 9,000 crore owed by his Kingfisher Airline in India.
He was even seen partying with his son Siddharth Mallya during last year IPL in a video posted by his son.
Despite multiple warnings, the party-lover failed to appear before investigators at the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Recently, after three failed attempts, the banks sold Mallya’s iconic villa in Goa to actor-producer Sachin Joshi for Rs 73 crore.
However, Mallya still owes over Rs 9,000 crore to lenders like SBI, PNB, IDBI Bank, BoB, Allahabad Bank, Federal Bank and Axis Bank, among others.
Last month, when the Supreme Court questioned Mallya about his assets and transfer of $40 million to his children, he took to the twitter to clarify his position.
“The allegations against me by the Attorney General before the Honourable Supreme Court only prove the attitude of the Government against me,” the defaulter had tweeted.
With input from Archana Atmakuri