LONDON: Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya should be extradited from Britain to India to face fraud charges resulting from the collapse of his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, a London court ruled yesteray.
India wants to bring criminal action against Mallya, 62, whose business interests have ranged from aviation to liquor, over $1.4 billion in loans Kingfisher took out from Indian banks which the authorities argue he had no intention of repaying. Mallya, who co-owned the Formula One motor racing team Force India until it went into administration in July, has denied all wrongdoing and argued the case against him was politically motivated.
Judge Emma Arbuthnot, England’s chief magistrate, decided there was a prima facie case against Mallya, who moved to Britain in March 2016, and his human rights would not be infringed if he were extradited. Her ruling will now be passed to the interior minister who must also approve it. Arbuthnot said there was no sign that the case had been brought for political reasons. An extradition would be a huge win for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi months before an election, after opposition parties said the government had given a “free passage” to Mallya to flee, an accusation it denies. —Agencies