New Delhi: Vijay Mallya, accused of defaulting on loans worth crores, was arrested in London today in what the government counted as a major win in its attempts to bring the business tycoon to India to face trial. But sources close to Mr Mallya asserted that it was a voluntary arrest and he was let off on bail within three hours.
- Vijay Mallya arrested by Scotland Yard
- He was produced in a metropolitan court in London, got bail
- Business tycoon is accused of defaulting 9,000 crores in loans
The 61-year-old, wanted for loan fraud and also facing charges of money-laundering, tweeted:
Confirming Mr Mallya's arrest earlier, the Scotland Yard said in a statement: "Vijay Mallya was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud…" He has been granted conditional bail pending a deposit of 650,000 pounds or Rs 5.3 crore, say sources.
Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.- Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) April 18, 2017
A hearing in a Westminster court was the first step in what could be a long legal battle for extradition. Mr Mallya can challenge his extradition in lower and higher courts, which can take months. "India needs to set a precedent - this will be a test case and an important one," top government sources told NDTV.
The government had requested the UK in February to extradite the flamboyant entrepreneur, who left India a year ago amid attempts by a group of banks to recover around Rs 9,000 crore in loans to his collapsed Kingfisher Airlines.
The process took rapid strides weeks after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, during a visit to the UK, reportedly raised with British leaders that a certain "fugitive" was overstaying in London. British Prime Minister Theresa May had dropped in on a meeting between Mr Jaitley and his UK counterpart when the subject was raised, the Press Trust of India quoted sources as saying.
Earlier, when New Delhi asked UK to deport Mr Mallya saying his passport had been cancelled, British officials said he could legally stay on in London as he had a UK visa.
India then pursued extradition. Last month, the UK told India that its request had been certified by the Secretary of State.
Mr Mallya has been charged with cheating and conspiracy by the CBI that filed a 1,000-page chargesheet against him for defaulting on a 900 crore loan taken from the IDBI bank in 2009. The CBI probe found that 250 crore of this - given to buy aircraft parts - was diverted abroad.
Amid multiple attempts to extradite him, Mr Mallya appeared to dare the authorities as he attended high profile events in the UK linked to his Formula One team Sahara Force India.