India formally requests U.K. to hand over Vijay Mallya

Govt. action comes days after CBI seeks extradition of tycoon

February 09, 2017 06:53 pm | Updated February 10, 2017 01:36 am IST - New Delhi

Vijay Mallya, the chairman of grounded carrier Kingfisher Airlines. file photo

Vijay Mallya, the chairman of grounded carrier Kingfisher Airlines. file photo

Beginning a formal process, India on Thursday sought extradition of absconding tycoon Vijay Mallya from the United Kingdom.

The government reached out to the U.K. days after the Central Bureau of Investigation advised extradition of the millionaire, who is wanted by a number of banks for defaulting on loans.

“We have today handed over the request for extradition of Mr. Vijay Vittal Mallya, as received from CBI to the U.K. High Commission in New Delhi. We have requested the U.K. side to extradite him to face trial in India,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

The development came two days after the Karnataka High Court ordered winding up of United Breweries (Holding) Ltd, the 102-year- old parent company of the UB Group.

The order followed UBL’s failure to pay back banks and individual creditors as per guarantees extended to the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. (KFA).

Mr Mallya has an arrest warrant issued by the designated Court in April 2016. At the request of the Enforcement Directorate and following the due procedures, the passport of Mr Mallya was revoked on April 23, 2016.

Sources said the extradition process was necessary as United Kingdom in its communication of May 5, 2016 had stated that it recognised the seriousness of charges against Mr Mallya which included defaulting in paying loans amounting to ₹9,000 crore to a consortium of 17 banks.

Mr Mallya, owner of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, left India on March 2, 2016 without meeting his legal and banking obligations. Following his departure to U.K., India sent a note verbale to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK on April 28, 2016 asking for the return of Mr. Mallya following revocation of his diplomatic passport. However, U.K. had stated that deportation was not possible as Mr Mallya had entered the country with a valid visa.

It further suggested that to seek Mr Mallya’s return, India could activate the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or formal extradition. The Vijay Mallya case is expected to be a test of U.K.’s ability to assist India in dealing with financial fraud as about a dozen extradition requests from India are currently pending with the UK authorities. Sources said they are expecting a positive response regarding the case from London.

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