Liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Wednesday claimed that he was a victim of a witch-hunt based on a false case. Mallya’s comments came hours after the United Kingdom High Court allowed him to challenge his extradition order.
“After all the mockery made of me I would respectfully ask those interested parties to focus on the Divisional Bench judgment in England today allowing me to challenge the core of the false prima facie case filed against me by the CBI. Witch-hunt?” the liquor baron tweeted.
He added that he was willing to pay back banks that lent money to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, which he owned. “Please take the money,” he said. “With the balance, I also want to pay employees and other creditors and move on in life.” Mallya owes a consortium of 17 Indian banks more than Rs 9,000 crore.
On Tuesday, the High Court allowed Mallya to appeal against UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to allow his extradition to India to face fraud and money laundering charges. His written plea against the extradition order was rejected by the court in April. The High Court judges noted that some of the lower court’s findings may have been based on allegations that the defence had not had a “chance to answer”.
Since he has been granted permission to appeal, the case will now proceed to a full hearing stage at the UK High Court. Mallya will continue remain free on bail.
The businessman fled India and moved to London in March 2016. India submitted an extradition request to the UK in February 2017 after he made his self-imposed exile clear. In a lower court, Mallya contested his extradition on the grounds that the case against him was “politically motivated”, and the loans he had defaulted on were taken to keep Kingfisher Airlines afloat.