The United Kingdom High Court on Tuesday allowed liquor baron Vijay Mallya to appeal against Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to allow his extradition to India to face fraud and money laundering charges, ANI reported. Mallya, who is currently out on bail on the extradition warrant, owes Indian banks more than Rs 9,000 crore.
The 63-year-old businessman, who fled to the United Kingdom in 2016, said he was feeling positive as he entered the Royal Courts of Justice in London, PTI reported. His written plea against the extradition order was rejected by the court in April. The court conducted an oral hearing of his renewal application this week.
Javid had signed the extradition order months after a British court found a prima facie case of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering against him, and ordered that he be sent back to India to face these charges.
On January 5, a special court in Mumbai declared Mallya a fugitive economic offender. He is the first person to get the tag after the Parliament passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act last year to allow the seizure of domestic assets of such individuals. Mallya has challenged the law’s provisions in the Bombay High Court, saying declaring him a fugitive economic offender is like giving him an “economic death penalty”.
Mallya fled India and moved to London in March 2016. India submitted an extradition request to the UK in February 2017 after the businessman made his self-imposed exile clear. He contested his extradition on the grounds that the case against him was “politically motivated”, and the loans he defaulted on were taken to keep the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines afloat.