Westminister Court grants bail to Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya
Indian Liquor baron Vijay Mallya arrested by World’s famous police force Scotland Yard police. However, Soon after the arrest, he was granted bail by Westminster Court in London on Tuesday.

London/United Kingdom, April 18: Absconding businessman and liquor baron Vijay Mallya was arrested in London on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud, said the Scotland Yard. “Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday 18 April arrested a man on an extraction warrant. He was arrested after attending a central London police station and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court later today, 18 April,” read the official statement of the Scotland Yard. Soon after he was produced before the London Court, he was granted bail.

This comes after a Delhi court had issued an open-ended non-bailable warrant against Mallya in connection with the 1995 FERA violation case. Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informed that extradition of absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya has been stratified by Secretary of State of the U.K. Government and soon a warrant would be released against him.

“Somewhere in the month in the month of February, the home office of the U.K. Government conveyed that India’s request for extradition of Mallya has been stratified by Secretary of State and sent to Westminster Magistrate court for a district judge consider issue of releasing of warrant,” MEA official spokesperson Gopal Bagley told the media. In March, the Supreme Court fast-tracked the proceedings against Mallya and reserved its order on contempt proceedings against him for allegedly diverting $40 million to his children’s accounts in foreign banks in violation of court orders.

Proceedings in India

A bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit reserved its order on whether or not Mallya was guilty of contempt and what action should be taken to bring back the money. The court concluded the proceedings after a three-and-a-half-hour hearing during which the Centre contended that Mallya was mocking the Indian system after fleeing the country. It said the government was holding talks with U.K. authorities to get him deported.

The apex court had started proceedings against Mallya a year ago and had issued a notice to him on March 8, 2016, on a plea by a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) for recovery of about Rs. 9,000 crore which the businessman and his companies owed to them. The liquor baron, however, fled the country days before the apex court took up the case against him. Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi urged the court to direct Mallya to bring back the $40 million which he had received from Diageo. He told the bench that Mallya had breached court orders and his refusal to bring back the money had aggravated the breach and he should be directed to appear personally before the court.

The extradition requests rejected by the UK
In the past, the UK has rejected several extradition requests made by India. The minister said extradition requests for criminal fugitives Raymond Varley, Ravi Shankaran, Velu Boopalan, Ajay Prasad Khaitan, Virendra Kumar Rastogi and Anand Kumar Jain had been rejected by the UK government.

Why might the UK not extradite Mallya?
1. For extradition, the UK has placed India in Category 2 countries for which the process is arduous and long. In Category 1 is the US and European countries which get preference.

2. If the UK extradites Mallya, it will have to move on other pending extradition requests made by India.

3. Mallya can claim to be a victim of a political vendetta and use that ground to block his extradition. He can easily get bail after his arrest today. He can later apply for a British passport by making a financial investment there.