Wanted tycoon Vijay Mallya was arrested in London on Tuesday morning, based on an extradition warrant. He was later granted bail and released on a bond of £6,50,000 and is scheduled to appear in court on May 17.
“Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday, 19 April, arrested a man on an extradition warrant,” Scotland Yard said in a statement, adding that the liquor baron had been arrested on behalf of Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud.
“He was arrested after attending a central London police station and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.” Earlier this year, India began formal proceedings to extradite Mr. Mallya, wanted in connection with a number of charges, including defaulting on loans amounting to ₹9,000 crore.
Relevant documents were handed over in New Delhi and London. While there is an acknowledgment that the actual extradition will depend on the U.K. courts, sources have said there was political will to support the process.
While no one had been extradited for 23 years after the India-U.K. Extradition Treaty of 1993, Britain last year extradited Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, wanted by India in relation to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
During his visit to London earlier this year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had highlighted the seriousness with which India took the issue of defaulters, without direct reference to Mr. Mallya.
The issue is also understood to have figured in discussions he had with Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.
Hiten Venegavkar, counsel for the Enforcement Directorate said, “It's the will and determination of our Indian government whose Finance Minister effectively got the extradition proceedings started with U.K. authorities on the basis of orders of non bailable warrant and extradition request from Prevention of Money Laundering Act court and various other courts. The arrest of Vijay Mallya clearly shows that evidence collected against him by agencies is not only sufficient but also effective in eyes of UK authorities to arrest and deport him.”
Under Article 9 of the extradition treaty, Mr. Mallya has recourse to several grounds to oppose India’s request for his custody.
CBI team for London
A team of CBI officials will leave for the U.K. to pursue the extradition request in coordination with the Indian High Commission in London. The Union Home Ministry has directed the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to prepare all documents necessary to be furnished as provided under the 1993 treaty.
The CBI charge sheet against the businessman in the ₹9000-crore IDBI Bank case, all the non-bailable warrants issued against him by various courts, the grounds on which he was declared a proclaimed offender in the money laundering case pursued by the Enforcement Directorate, and a copy of the latest case registered in August last year, would form part of the dossier.
The Directorate has so far attached assets worth more than ₹9,600 crore belonging to Mr. Mallya and his companies, in the case registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
(With inputs from Devesh K Pandey, Sonam Saigal)