Beleaguered Indian businessman Vijay Mallya was today arrested by the Scotland Yard in London on India's request for his extradition on fraud charges, only to be released on bail hours later.
The 61-year-old liquor baron, wanted in India for defaulting on loans, was arrested after he appeared at a central London police station this morning.
He appeared before the Westminster's Magistrates' Court in London for his bail hearing and was released on a bail.
Confirming the arrest, Metropolitan Police Service in London (Scotland Yard) said in a statement:
"Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday 18 April arrested a man on an extraction warrant. Vijay Mallya, 61 (18/12/1955), was arrested on behalf of the 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 later today, 18 April," it said.
He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London and was seen walking out with his legal team a few hours later after being granted bail, PTI reported.
"It was a voluntary action. He will be out in a few minutes," said a member of Mallya's team at the court, without giving any further details of the bail conditions.
Soon after getting the bail, the industrialist tweeted, "Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected."
Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) April 18, 2017
Mallya has been declared a proclaimed offender and there are multiple warrants pending against him in India in several cases including loan default and money laundering.
Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016.
Senior Indian officials described his arrest as the first salvo in the case, which will now involve a legal process in the UK to determine if Mallya can be extradited to India to face charges in Indian courts.
CBI statement on Vijay Mallya arrest
Soon after his arrest, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said in a statement that Vijay Mallaya was arrested on the basis of a formal extradition request that was sent to the UK on February 8, 2017.
"CBI had filed a chargesheet against Mallya in IDBI case of laundering Rs 900 crore loan. This chargesheet was filed on January 24, 2017 against ten accused including Mallya. The case was filed on July 29, 2015. CBI has filed two cases against Mallaya. One was IDBI and the second was consortium of 17 banks led by SBI."
He has been arrested in the IDBI case, the CBI said.
"SBI case is of 6,027 crore in which mallya and ubhl has been named as an accused. SBI case is of 6027 crore in which mallya and United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL) has been named as accused," it said.
India in touch with the UK
India is in touch with the UK on the issue of extradition of Vijay Mallya who has been declared a proclaimed offender, the external affairs ministry said today.
Holding that Mallya's arrest in London by Scotland Yard today was in connection with the request by the government to the UK authorities for his extradition, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said legal process in this regard is underway in the UK.
"The two governments are in touch in this context," he added.
India will make strong case for Mallya's extradition
The CBI and the Indian High Commission in London will present India's case in the UK court for extradition of controversial industrialist Vijay Mallya as the government looks to break the myth that a law breaker is out of bound once he is out of country.
India will make a strong case for Mallya's extradition from the UK as he "squandered" public money, did not pay employees and defaulted on bank loans, a top government source said today.
"We want to shatter this myth that by crossing boundaries you are out of bounds. Mallya extradition will act as animportant test case," the source said.
"Squandering public money, you don't pay employees, you don't pay banks and you maintain a lavish lifestyle and give the system a damn. I think there's a hunger in Indian public opinion to see such people in prison," the source said here.
The time taken by the UK court to decide on the extradition request will be less than Indian courts, the source said adding New Delhi will have to present strong proof as extradition request involves offence committed only in one country.
"Extradition process now starts," he said. "There is a myth that I will cross the geographical boundaries and take refuge and be out of bounds. India needs to set this precedent".
Arrest comes two months after extradition request
The arrest comes weeks after Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had indicated that Mallya's extradition would feature in his talks during his visit to the UK.
India had given a formal extradition request for Mallya as per the Extradition Treaty between India and the UK through a note verbale on February 8.
"A formal extradition request in respect of Mallya as per Extradition Treaty between India and the UK was handed over to the British High Commission through a note verbale on February 8," the Ministry of External Affairs had said last month.
While handing over the request, India had asserted that it has a "legitimate" case against Mallya and maintained that if an extradition request is honoured, it would show British "sensitivity towards our concerns".
The UK had later conveyed to India that its request for extradition of Mallya was certified by the UK Secretary of State.
Setting in motion the process of extradition of Mallya, the British government had last month certified India's request and sent it to a district judge for further action.
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.
On February 21, Indian officials had held discussions with a five member British delegation where the matter was discussed.
Earlier in January this year, a CBI court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in the Rs 720-crore IDBI Bank loan default case.