London: Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya has decided to initiate appeal process after the UK Home Office approved his extradition to India on Monday.
UK’s Home Secretary on Monday signed an order approving that Mallya will be extradited to India to face trial for alleged fraud and money laundering amounting to Rs. 9,000 crore.
“Vijay Mallya is accused in India of conspiracy to defraud, making false representations and money laundering offences,” the order said.
“After the decision was handed down on December 10, 2018 by the Westminster Magistrates Court, I stated my intention to appeal. I could not initiate the appeal process before a decision by the Home Secretary. Now I will initiate the appeal process,” Mallya tweeted on Monday.
“On February 3, the Secretary of State, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed the order for Vijay Mallya’s extradition to India,” said UK home office spokesperson on Monday.
India has been pushing for the extradition of Mallya, who is wanted for loan frauds, money laundering and other economic offences.
A major breakthrough was achieved on December 10 when the Westminster Magistrate’s Court found merit in the charges registered against Mallya in India and approved his extradition.
The matter was then posted to the UK’s Secretary of State for confirmation.
Mallya has 14 days from Monday to apply for leave to appeal.
While sharing details of the latest development, sources in the Indian government said that the completion of the legal process is awaited for the extradition of the fugitive liquor baron.
“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 sources.
Meanwhile, soon after the UK Home Secretary signed the extradition request, Union Minister Arun Jaitley also took to Twitter and hailed the development.
“Modi Government clears one more step to get Mallya extradited while Opposition rallies around the Saradha Scamsters,” he tweeted.
On January 31, Mallya had gone on a Twitter tirade to share details of his group assets being attached by the recovery officer.
He took to micro-blogging site to complain about how every morning he wakes up to “yet another attachment by the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) officer” and that already Rs 13,000 crore of his assets had been attached, against the Rs 9,000 crore owed by him.
He wondered “how far will this go and well beyond” and whether it was “justified”.
“The DRT Recovery Officer recently attaches my Group assets worth over 13,000 crores in India on behalf of the Consortium of Banks. Yet the narrative is that I ran away with the claimed amount of 9000 crores causing loss to the Public Sector Banks. Where is Justice or fair play? Every morning I wake up to yet another attachment by the DRT recovery officer. Value already crossed 13,000 crores. Banks claim dues including all interest of 9,000 crores which is subject to review. How far will this go and well beyond? Justified ??,” Mallya had tweeted.
In two more tweets, he further added, “And despite all the attachments in India, Banks have given an open licence to their Lawyers in England to pursue multiple frivolous litigations against me. Who is accountable for spending Public money on Legal fees in such a brazen manner? And finally, the Banks Lawyers in England have objected in writing to my paying my legitimate tax dues to HMRC which I requested.
The irony is Indian State Banks want my money in England to settle an Indian debt already secured and deny payment to the U.K. tax exchequer. Disgraceful.”
Mallya, 63, had fled from India in March 2016 and has been living in the United Kingdom since then.