London: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya was arrested in London Tuesday morning on behalf of authorities in India, where he is wanted on charges of money laundering and demands that he pay back nearly Rs 9,000 crore in bank loans extended to his now-collapsed Kingfisher Airlines.
A few hours later, the Westminster Magistrate's Court granted Vijay Mallya bail.
"Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition Unit this morning arrested a man on an extraction warrant. Vijay Mallya was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud," Scotland Yard said soon after Mallya was held.
Mallya was arrested after showing up in a police station and subsequently appeared in the Westminster Magistrate's Court for the bail hearing.
India had in February requested the UK for Mallya's extradition according to the rules of the Extradition Treaty between the two countries. Mallya is accused of defaulting on bank loans worth 9,000 crores and is facing charges of money laundering.
While handing over the extradition request, India had said it had a "legitimate" case against Mallya and maintained if an extradition request was honoured, it would show British "sensitivity towards our concerns".
The business magnate left India for the UK last year amid attempts by banks to recover the loans on which he has defaulted.
An Indian court in January had ordered Mallya’s lenders to start the process of recovering the loans.
Senior Indian officials described his arrest as the first step in the extradition case which would now begin a legal process in the UK to determine if Mallya could be extradited to India to face charges in courts here.
The extradition process from the UK involves a number of steps including a decision by the judge whether to issue a warrant of arrest.
In case of a warrant, the person is arrested and brought before the court for preliminary hearing followed by an extradition hearing before a final decision is taken by the secretary of state.
The wanted person has a right to appeal to the higher courts against any decision all the way up to the Supreme Court.
Soon after he left, India cancelled Mallya’s passport, but his extradition was refused by the UK earlier because under the country’s laws, visitors could stay in the country even if their passports had expired.
But last month, the British government set in motion the process of extradition by certifying India's request and sending it to a district judge for further action.
Mallya, who launched Kingfisher Airlines which now owes Rs 9,000 crores to banks, has been charged with cheating and conspiracy by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which filed a 1000-page chargesheet against him. The chargesheet specially mentioned covered one specific case -- the large loan given to him by IDBI Bank.
In January this year, a CBI court issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in the Rs 720-crore IDBI Bank loan default case.