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Vijay Mallya denied permission to appeal against extradition by UK court; fugitive liquor baron can now appeal to Supreme Court

The UK court on Monday has rejected fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya's written permission against an extradition appeal to India.

The embattled liquor tycoon now has the option to appeal in the Supreme Court in the UK. However, this may take at least six week's time.

Mallya who is facing charges of fraud, money laundering and violation of FEMA had earlier appealed at the UK High Court against UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid's extradition decision.

"The application for permission to appeal was refused by Mr Justice William Davis on 05/04/2019," said a spokesperson for the UK judiciary.

"The appellant (Mallya) has five business days to apply for oral consideration. If a renewal application is made, it will be listed before a High Court judge and dealt with at a hearing," the spokesperson said.

The application seeking “leave to appeal” had been passed on to a single judge, who was to make a decision on the basis of papers submitted as part of the application. Now that the “judge on papers” application has been rejected by Judge Davis, Mallya has the option to submit for a “renewal”.

The renewal process will lead to a brief oral hearing during which Mallya's legal team and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – on behalf of the Indian government – will renew their respective claims for and against an appeal for a judge to determine if it can proceed to a full hearing.

The 63-year-old fugitive economic offender's extradition was approved by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid boosting India's efforts to bring back the fugitive businessman. Mallya had appealed in the High Court after Javid signed off on his extradition order.

Mallya has been based in the UK since March 2016 and remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017.

He is wanted in India for wilful default of over Rs 9,000 crore loan from Indian banks.

 Vijay Mallya denied permission to appeal against extradition by UK court; fugitive liquor baron can now appeal to Supreme Court

File photo of Vijay Mallya. PTI

Living off partner and left with just 'Rs 2,956 cr in personal assets'

A few days ago the embattled liquor tycoon was reported to be living off his partner, his personal assistant, a business acquaintance and his adult children, the London high court was told 3 April.

According to a report in The Times of India, the court was told that Mallya had just Rs 2,956 crore left in personal assets, all of which he has put towards his settlement offer in the Karnataka high court.

Mallya faced yet another legal battle to prevent a consortium of Indian banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) getting access to nearly 2,60,000 pounds in a UK bank account.

The fugitive businessman is contesting an interim debt order obtained by the Indian banks in January this year, which relates to funds in the former Kingfisher Airlines boss' current account with ICICI Bank in London.

Mallya’s lawyers told SBI that their client is willing to cut his spending to 29,500 pounds a month, Mint reported. Mallya is currently spending about 18,300 pounds a week

Case of money laundering

In her verdict at the end of a year-long extradition trial in December last year, Judge Emma Arbuthnot ruled that the "flashy" former Kingfisher Airlines boss had a "case to answer" in the Indian courts. She found there was "clear evidence of dispersal and misapplication of the loan funds" and accepted a prima facie case of fraud and a conspiracy to launder money against Mallya, as presented by the on behalf of the Indian authorities.

The court also dismissed any bars to extradition on the grounds of the prison conditions under which the businessman would be held, as the judge accepted the Indian government's assurances that he would receive all necessary medical care at Barrack 12 in Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail.

"There was no evidence which allowed me to find that if extradited Dr Mallya was at real risk of suffering a flagrant denial of justice," the verdict noted.

India and the UK have an Extradition Treaty signed in 1992 and in force since November 1993. So far only one successful extradition has taken place from the UK to India under the treaty — that of Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, who was sent back to India in 2016 to face trial in connection with his involvement in the post-Godhra riots of 2002.

As India falls under the Category 2 set of countries within the UK's Extradition Act 2003, any decision of the courts must be endorsed by the UK Home Secretary, who has the authority to order extradition. It is not uncommon for a higher court to give leave to appeal and then to overturn the verdict of a lower court.

In a related extradition case of alleged bookie Sanjeev Kumar Chawla, wanted in India on match-fixing charges, the High Court had overturned an earlier Westminster Magistrates' Court ruling against his extradition to India due to human rights concerns related to Tihar Jail in Delhi where he was to be detained. Under the legal process, the case was sent back to the magistrates' level where a District Judge overturned the previous ruling last month and found in favour of the Indian government.

Javid is also due to announce his decision on the extradition order of Chawla, a key accused in the cricket match-fixing scandal involving former South African captain Hansie Cronje in 2000, within the stipulated two-month period, which runs until early March.

--With PTI inputs

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Updated Date: Apr 08, 2019 16:48:34 IST