In a major setback to Vijay Mallya, a UK court on Monday ordered his extradition to India, where he is wanted for alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crores.
Westminster Magistrates' Court Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot ruled that Mallya can be extradited to India to stand trial on the charges brought by the CBI and ED.
There was "no ground at all" to believe that Mallya faces any risk in Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail which has been recently "redecorated", the judge said, rejecting the liquor baron's attempts to show Indian prisons in a bad light.
The judge referred the extradition case to Secretary of State. Mallya has now 14 days to appeal against the order. Both sides will have the right to file for a permission to appeal in the Chief Magistrate's ruling in the UK High Court.
The court dismissed the defence's attempts to dispute Indian prison conditions as a bar to his extradition on human rights grounds, saying the video of the Barrack 12 of Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail, where Mallya would be held, "gives accurate portrayal and has been recently redecorated".
"He will have access to personal medical care to manage his diabetes and coronary problems... There was no ground at all to believe that he faces any risk at all (in jail)," the judge ruled.
The ruling marked a significant point in the high-profile extradition trial that has lasted over a year.
Hailing the UK court order on Mallya's extradition, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the offender who benefited during the UPA rule is being brought to the book by the NDA government
The Central Bureau of Investigation has welcomed the court order. As per media reports, we have come to know Vijay Mallya's extradition ordered by a London court. We welcome the decision, CBI spokesperson said. He further said, "We hope to bring him soon and conclude the case. CBI has its own inherent strengths. We worked hard on this case. We are strong on Law and facts and we were confident while pursuing extradition process".
India Inc said the UK Court's order on Mallya's extradition reflects the Modi government's resolve, observing that the law will take its own course on the matter and deliver justice.
"It does reinforce the government's resolve. Mallya has also said he is willing to pay back the loan. However, he should have said he is willing to pay back the dues to the (former) employees," PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Rajeev Talwar told PTI.
Earlier in the day, Mallya sought to disprove the narrative that he has "stolen" money and said his offer to repay the principal amount to the Indian banks was "not bogus".
Mallya made the remarks while talking to reporters outside the Westminster Magistrates' Court. The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss was on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year.
My settlement offer is made before the Karnataka High Court. It is not related to this extradition trial. Nobody disrespects a court of law by making a bogus offer. The assets have been attached by the ED so they cannot be bogus assets," he said, asserting that his offer to repay the principal amount was not bogus.
The embattled liquor tycoon said that the value of his assets is more than enough to pay everybody and that is exactly what he was focusing on.
"I want to disprove the narrative that I have stolen (money)," he said.
He said his legal team will review the judgment and take proper steps thereafter.
In reference to settlement offer to Karnataka High Court, Mallya said that he has requested the court that if the settlement is granted then first the employees of Kingfisher be paid.
The trial, which opened at the Magistrates' Court on 4 December last year, has gone through a series of hearings beyond the initial seven days earmarked for it.
With PTI inputs
Updated Date: Dec 10, 2018 20:20:27 IST