Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya will be extradited to India to face trial for alleged fraud and money laundering amounting to Rs 9,000 crore, UK's home secretary Sajid Javed has decided. The order for his extradition was signed on Monday following India's request. The extradition, however, is not guaranteed. The 62-year-old chief of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines -- whose appeal has also been turned down by a court in December -- gets to appeal in court.
"On February 3, the Secretary of State, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed the order for Vijay Mallya's extradition to India. Vijay Mallya is accused in India of conspiracy to defraud, making false representations and money laundering offences," read a statement from the UK Home Office.
Vijay Mallya tweeted he will start the appeal process.
After the decision was handed down on December 10,2018 by the Westminster Magistrates Court, I stated my intention to appeal. I could not initiate the appeal process before a decision by the Home Secretary. Now I will initiate the appeal process.- Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) February 4, 2019
Taking a dig at the opposition, Union minister Arun Jaitley tweeted: "Modi Government clears one more step to get Mallya extradited while Opposition rallies around the Saradha Scamsters."
The opposition has accused the BJP-led government of aiding and abetting fugitive tycoons like Mr Mallya, celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi and his aide Mehul Choksi.
It could take a while and several legal levels before Mr Mallya can be extradited to India. The tycoon has 14 days to file his appeal in a higher court and if needed, to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice.
Application for the right to appeal before the Supreme Court alone takes at least six weeks. By the time the court decides, he may get close to a year to plan his defence.
Mr Mallya left India in 2016 after a consortium of banks joined hands to start legal proceedings to recover the loans. He has been living in the UK since.
The fugitive tycoon has claimed that the government has attached his property worth over Rs. 13,000 crore - way above the Rs. 9,000 crore that he owes. He told the UK authorities that the case against him is politically motivated.
On December 9, the Westminster Magistrate's Court had ordered the extradition of Mr Mallya. Describing the businessman as a "bejewelled, flashy, ostensibly billionaire playboy", Judge Sally Arbuthnot said there was no "false case" against him in India.