- Vijay Mallya should be extradited to India, rules London court
- Court says "no sign of a false case being mounted against him"
- Says banks may have been in the thrall of "flashy billionaire"
Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya was described as a "bejewelled, flashy, ostensibly billionaire playboy", by a UK court that today ordered his extradition to India to stand trial. Vijay Mallya is wanted in India for fraud and defaulting on Rs 9,000 crore in unpaid loan to his failed Kingfisher Airlines.
The Westminster Magistrate's Court's decision came in a 74-page judgement on the flamboyant liquor baron, who skipped India in 2016 when a group of banks initiated action to recover the loans.
"It is either a case that the various continuing failures were by design and with a motive (possibly financial) which is not clear from the evidence that has been put in front of me, or it is a case of a bank who were in the thrall of this glamorous, flashy, famous, bejewelled, bodyguarded, ostensibly billionaire playboy who charmed and cajoled these bankers into losing their common sense and persuading them to put their own rules and regulations to one side," the judgement said.
Vijay Mallya, who has been living in a mansion near London since he left India, led an ultra-luxe lifestyle before his financial and legal troubles exploded. He epitomized luxury and "good times", which was also a tagline for his company's beer. He owned sprawling villas, yachts, a formula one team and an IPL cricket team. Much of it has been auctioned on court orders in India.
Westminster Magistrates' Court Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot said that there was "no sign of a false case being mounted against him".
Vijay Mallya can appeal against the decision, but the court ruling marks a significant point in the high-profile extradition trial that lasted over a year.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss was on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year.
Earlier in the day, Vijay Mallya sought to disprove the narrative that he has "stolen" the money and said his offer to repay the principal amount to the Indian banks was "not bogus".