Mallya arrested in UK, released later on bail

Govt to press before UK court for proclaimed offender's extradition
Report by: 
London/ New Delhi
18 Apr 2017

Embattled Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender, was today arrested in London by Scotland Yard on India's request for his extradition on fraud charges.

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. The flamboyant businessman, who once called himself 'The King of Good Times, was released on bail a few hours later. "Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition Unit this morning arrested a man on an extradition warrant. Vijay Mallya was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud," Scotland Yard told news agency PTI. The Metropolitan Police said Mallya was arrested after attending a central London police station.

Mallya appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London and was seen walking out with his legal team a few hours later after being granted bail. "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. "Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected," Mallya tweeted soon after getting the bail.
Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016. In January, an Indian court ordered a consortium of lenders to start the process of recovering the loans.

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. The arrest comes weeks after Union finance minister Arun Jaitley had indicated that Mallya's extradition would feature in his talks during his visit to the UK. The Union government is now assessing how to bring Vijay Mallya back to India and start judicial proceedings against him, Union minister Santosh Gangwar said today on a day when the defaulter businessman was arrested in London and released later on bail.

"We are now assessing the facts (as to) how we can bring him back into the country and start judicial proceedings against him," Gangwar told newspersons here. The government, he said, will leave no stone unturned to bring to justice anyone indulging in financial irregularities. "During Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Nodi had talked about bringing black money back... and of strong steps against economic offenders," he said. With the finance minister reportedly taking up Mallya's extradition with the British Prime Minister during her recent visit, Minister of State for Finance Gangwar said loans to the controversial liquor tycoon were granted by public banks during the previous UPA regime.

Since Mallya left the country, the government has been looking at steps to bring him back, he said. "We will not take any such step which could make it appear that we are going against law, and we will not leave any offender who falls under Indian law," Gangwar pointed out. The government has taken steps to recover the loans and "what happened today is part of that move". "We are taking stringent steps and will not protect any offender," he emphasised. Asked about bringing other offenders to India, he said it is in process.

The CBI and the Indian High Commission in London will present India's case in the UK court for extradition of the controversial as the government looks to break the myth that a law breaker is out of bound once he is out of country. A top source said India is seeking extradition of Mallya for defaulting on loans due to IDBI. "We want to shatter this myth that by crossing boundaries you are out of bounds. Mallya extradition will act as an important test case," the source said.