Vijay Mallya is wanted in India over unpaid loans worth over Rs. 9,000 crore.
LONDON: Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya’s written appeal against an extradition order passed by a magistrate late last year has been rejected by a High Court judge in the United Kingdom. He will now face an oral hearing on his appeal against the decision.
The Westminister Magistrate’s Court had ruled against the 62-year-old businessman, who is wanted in India on charges of not paying back loans worth Rs. 9,000 crore, on December 9 last year. Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had concluded that Vijay Mallya has a case to answer in the Indian courts over substantial “misrepresentations” of his financial dealings while he was heading the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid later signed off on the order.
“The application for permission to appeal was refused by Justice William Davis on April 5,” news agency PTI quoted a spokesperson for the UK judiciary as saying today. “The appellant has five business days to apply for oral consideration. If a renewal application is made, it will be listed before a High Court judge.”
Now that the written application has been rejected by Judge Davis, Mallya has the option of submitting for a “renewal”. This particular process will lead to a brief oral hearing, during which Vijay Mallya’s legal team and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – on behalf of the Indian government – will renew their respective claims to determine if the matter can proceed to a full hearing.
Vijay Mallya’s fortunes have been sliding in recent times, with defence lawyers conveying his willingness to cut his spending to a comparatively lower amount of 29,500 pounds a month. The businessman’s debtors — who accuse him of wilfully defaulting on loans taken by Kingfisher Airlines — are now seeking to seize about 258,000 pounds stashed in his account. They allege that Vijay Mallya continues to lead a “lavish lifestyle” despite legal challenges.
Last heard, he was spending about 18,300 pounds a week. A court document released earlier this week revealed that the businessman’s weekly expenditure on groceries came up to over 1,000 pounds a week, and he sees “no need to rein in his spending to reflect his reduced circumstances”.
The walls, however, continue to close in on him. A special court dealing with offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) declared him a fugitive economic offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act on January 5 — paving the way for the authorities to attach his properties.