New Delhi: In what can be seen as success for investigating agencies, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Monday approved fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s extradition order, clearing decks for his return to India.
“On 3 February the Secretary of State, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed the order for Vijay Mallya’s extradition to India,” said a UK Home Office spokesperson.
He now has 14 days from February 4 to apply for leave to appeal to the UK High Court.
Mallya left India on March 2, 2016 after defaulting on loan amounting to Rs 9,000 crore he had taken for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Soon after the news broke, Arun Jaitley, who is currently undergoing treatment in US, said it was another step to get Mallya home. He further contrasted the situation with the one playing out in Bengal, where CM Mamata Banerjee is sitting on dharna against the CBI for questioning the Kolkata Police commissioner in the Saradha chit fund scam.
“Modi Government clears one more step to get Mallya extradited while Opposition rallies around the Saradha Scamsters,” Jaitley tweeted.
“We have taken note of the decision of the UK Home Secretary to sign on the order for Vijay Mallya’s extradition to India. While we welcome the UK Government’s decision in the matter, we await the early completion of the legal process for his extradition,” said a source in Indian intelligentsia.
On Friday, Vijay Mallya claimed his group’s properties worth over Rs 13,000 crore have been attached, more than the ‘claimed’ Rs 9,000 crore that he “ran away with” asking where is justice and how far will it go.
Mallya also claimed that the banks to which he owes money “have given an open licence to their Lawyers in England to pursue multiple frivolous litigations against” him questioning the “brazen” spending of “public money on legal fees”.
Last year in December Westminster Magistrates’ Court Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had ruled in favour of extradition of Mallya.
At a BJP rally in January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Any person who has cheated or looted the country shall be brought to justice. This is regardless of whether he is in India or abroad.”