Vijay Mallya might play down his arrest, but Kingfisher owner stuck between rock and a hard place

Vijay Mallya can make light of his arrest and his being released on bail and detractors of Prime Minister Narendra Modi can huff and puff about why India has not demanded deportation and settled for extradition. The fact is he was arrested by Scotland Yard. And there is now a case registered against him. There is nothing cheerful or happy about being taken into custody because there is now a file on you and the paper chase has begun.

That is a granite rock. And the hard place is helplessly watching his possessions and property being shunted off, it's not a nice place to be in.

Not just that but the system has him on a string and that string can be pulled at whim. Much as Mallya may pretend it’s no big deal and blame the media for hyping it all up he cannot get away from the clutches of the law.

A file photo of liquor baron and owner of Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya. Reuters

A file photo of liquor baron and owner of Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya. Reuters

Between now and the next hearing on 17 May, Mallya is under observation, his time consumed by lawyers and the preparation for the next major step. He is now a ‘person of interest’ and it is up to the police and the magistrate to decide the course of your life over the next 28 days. That is not pleasant or comfortable and things can begin to go wrong.

You are hounded every moment of the day and it wears you down. For the next four weeks even travel is a major hassle and it can be denied. The official British conditions for bail read as under:
- living at a particular address
- not contacting certain people
- giving your passport to the police so you can’t leave the UK
- reporting to a police station at agreed times, for example, once a week

Behind all that bravado, Mallya can sense the earth moving. Think of it. The bail can be revoked any moment and you can be arrested. It hangs over your head like that damoclean sword. It can be physically and mentally exhausting to play ‘knock knock; who's there’ whenever someone comes over… it could be cops.

You can be called in for questioning, you are under constant scrutiny and the hell with being innocent till proven guilty. By the very acceptance of the Indian government’s plea and the charge against you, the pressure has been applied.

So those who are trying to make the Modi government look small and ineffectual over this case like members of the Congress, they are not cutting any ice. Stop carping and detracting from the initiative. After all, it is a sobering thought that during the Congress years not one extradition was agreed upon. There is always a first time and Vijay Mallya sits helplessly in London watching his empire fragment and strangers walk his home.

It must be a terrible sensation to have your privacy invaded in this fashion. And now this arrest. For those who think Mallya is a happy camper and has fooled the Indian authorities, think again. The vital difference is that he was not called in for questioning. He was arrested.

Somewhere down the line there will be a seat on a plane back to India. The loading has begun and there is no getting away from that. The British legal system is very strict and arrests are not made casually. Clearly there is enough prima facie evidence and the odds favour the case going to trial when the May 17 hearing decides to either extend his bail, end it and arrest him or let him go.

The third is the most unlikely.

Updated Date: Apr 19, 2017 15:35 PM

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