Vijay Mallya to appeal against British govt’s extradition order; MEA cautiously welcomes UK’s move

Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya is wanted in the Rs 9,000-crore Kingfisher Airlines loan default case


NH Web Desk

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya will appeal in court the British government’s order approving his extradition to India, as United Kingdom’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Monday signed the order to extradite Mallya which has already been allowed by a lower court.

“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,” Mallya tweeted late on Monday.

Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya is wanted in the Rs 9,000-crore Kingfisher Airlines loan default case.

A note issued by Press Officer Bethany Ditzel, citing a UK Home Office spokesperson, said: "On 3 February, 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. He has 14 days from today to apply for leave to appeal."

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has cautiously reacted to the Home Secretary’s order, apparently aware that Mallya is allowed to appeal twice in the UK court system before all decks for his extradition to India are cleared. Sources say that the process may take at least a month, probably more.

"While we welcome the UK government's decision in the matter, we await an early completion of the legal process for his extradition," said sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), adding they have taken note of the decision of the British Home Secretary.

The Westminster Magistrates Court in the UK on December 10 gave the ruling to extradite Mallya following a prolonged litigation. Westminster Magistrates' Court Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot had then sent Mallya's case to the Home Secretary of State for a decision to be taken on whether to order his extradition.

After the British Home Secretary's order, Mallya can move the Special Immigration Appeals Commission -- also known by the acronym SIAC -- which is a superior court of record in the United Kingdom established by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997. It deals with appeals from persons deported by the Home Secretary under various statutory powers, and usually related to matters of national security.

SIAC also hears persons deprived of British citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981 as amended by Section 4 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

An appellant is represented to the Commission by a special advocate who is a person vetted by the security service with controversy surrounding the use of secret evidence which only the judges and special advocates have access to.

Mallya, 63, left India on March 2, 2016 after defaulting on loan amounting to Rs 9,000 crore he had taken for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines but he has repeatedly denied fleeing the country, saying he is ready to pay back the money he owed to the Indian banks.

A consortium of 13 banks -- led by the State Bank of India (SBI) -- has been preparing to initiate loan recovery proceedings against him.

The proceedings are on before the Mumbai Special Court against Mallya under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.

(with IANS inputs)

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