Mumbai: Industrialist Vijay Mallya, founder of now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, has been living in a self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom since he left India on March 2 last year using a diplomatic passport.
India has taken up his extradition case with the UK government which has triggered the process of extradition with Mallya’s brief arrest on Tuesday. Mallya who was accompanied by his team of legal advisers was later granted bail.
Apart from Vijay Mallya’s case, India has made as many as 15 extradition requests that are pending with the UK authorities. Mallya’s case was accelerated and put on fast-track after UK Prime Minister Theresa May met her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in November last year, according to a report in The Indian Express.
Both leaders had agreed to expedite mutual assistance in extraditing wanted accused in both the countries.
One year after Mallya left country in February 2016, Indian High Commission in London handed over the dossier with Mallya's extradition request to the UK authorities after which the case was taken to court.
Getting Mallya extradited from the United Kingdom would not be as easy as it may sound. In the past, Indian government failed to get a favourable judgment from UK court in Nadeem Saifi extradition litigation.
India wanted Saifi's custody in 1997’s Gulshan Kumar murder case in which Gangster Abu Salem was main accused.
UK has strong human rights laws that make extradition of a person very cumbersome process. According to a report in DailyMail, India is among Category II countries under UK extradition laws.
Category II cases take much more time to complete than Category I cases that get preference. The United States and European countries fall under Category I.
A group of 17 banks led by the State Bank of India has claimed that embattled liquor baron has defaulted on Rs 9,000 crore loan payments that included the principal amount and interest money.
Mallya has been declared a wilful defaulter and a proclaimed offender for offences related to money laundering. He has several bailable and non-bailable arrest warrants issued against him.
Mallya had taken loans to start and run Kingfisher Airlines that stopped operations after going bankrupt. Earlier, in a series of tweets Mallya blamed “faulty” engines as one of the main reasons for collapse of the low-cost carrier.