In a major blow to Vijay Mallya, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Monday ordered the extradition of the embattled liquor baron to India on charges of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering offences.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who has been on bail in the UK on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, had been fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering allegedly amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.
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Following the development, India welcomed the UK government's decision, while stating that it awaits early completion of legal process, as per PTI sources.
"We have taken note of the decision of the UK Home Secretary to sign on the order for Vijay Mallya's extradition to India," a top government source told the agency.
"While we welcome the UK government's decision in the matter, we await the early completion of the legal process for his extradition," the source said.
The UK Home Office confirmed on Monday that after considering all matters, the minister had signed Mallya's extradition order on Sunday.
"On February 3 the Secretary of State, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed the order for Vijay Mallya's extradition to India," a Home Office spokesperson said.
"Vijay Mallya is accused in India of conspiracy to defraud, making false representations and money laundering offences," the spokesperson added.
He now has 14 days from February 4 to apply for leave to appeal to the UK High Court.
In his reaction, Mallya confirmed that he will file the appeal. "After the decision was handed down on December 10,2018 by the Westminster Magistrates Court, I stated my intention to appeal. I could not initiate the appeal process before a decision by the Home Secretary. Now I will initiate the appeal process," he said via social media.
Reacting on the development, Union Minister Arun Jaitley took a dig at the opposition and said that the Modi government cleared one more step to get Mallya extradited, while opposition "rallied around the Saradha Scamsters."
Modi Government clears one more step to get Mallya extradited while Opposition rallies around the Saradha Scamsters.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) February 4, 2019
Mallya is fighting his extradition from the UK to India in a trial which opened in London on December 4 last year. The UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, has attempted to lay out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya and establish there are no bars to him being extradited to face Indian courts over the allegations relating to loans made out to erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines
In separate legal proceedings, the businessman had lost an appeal in the UK's Court of Appeal earlier this year against a UK High Court order in favour of 13 Indian banks to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion pounds.
The banks, led by State Bank of India (SBI), have since been pursuing ways of recouping the debt as part of a worldwide freezing order. In one of the most recent orders in the case last week, they had acquired the court's permission to pursue any surplus funds from the sale of a luxury yacht formerly owned by Mallya.