AWAITING, RETURN OF THE FUGITIVE
On 10th December 2018, UK COURT ORDER EXTRADITION OF VIJAY MALLYA TO INDIA, the matter of extradition of Vijay Mallya to India has been referred to the Secretary of State. The ruling marked a significant point in the high-profile extradition trial that had lasted over a year. The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss has been on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year.
The UK’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 10th December, 2018, ordered the extradition of fugitive of the liquor Baron to India to face fraud charges resulting from the collapse of his defunct Kingfisher Airlines. This matter of extradition of Vijay Mallya has been referred to the UK’s secretary of State. Chief Magistrate Judge Emma Arbuthnot has found prima facie a case against Vijay Mallya for fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. The ruling marked a significant point in the high-profile extradition trial that had lasted over a year.
Following the UK Court’s order, Finance Minister Sri. Arun Jaitley, said, “that any person trying to cheat India, will not be spared”. He was also quoted, “Great day for India. No one who cheats India will go scot-free. The Judgement of UK’s Court is welcomed. An offender benefitted during the UPA, the NDA, brings him to book”.
This decision was welcomed by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI). A spokesperson of CBI 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; we were confident while pursuing extradition process”.
Mallya for his part, has contested his extradition on the grounds that, the case against him is “politically motivated” and the loans he has been accused of defrauding on were sought to keep his now-defunct airline afloat. 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”. He went on to say, “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 that they cannot be bogus assets” while asserting that his offer to repay the principal amount was not bogus. The liquor tycoon also said, “that the value of his assets is more than enough to pay everybody and that is exactly what he was focusing on”. He also assured, “I want to disprove the narrative that I have stolen money”.
SPECIAL COURT DECLARES
VIJAY MALLYA A “FUGITIVE ECONOMIC OFFENDER”(FEO), Mallya has become the first
businessman to be declared FEO, under the provisions of the New Fugitive
Economic offenders Act, which came into existence in August 2018. Special Judge M S Azmi, declared Mallya as FEO under Section 12 of the Act after hearing extensive arguments from the lawyer of Mallya and the ED Counsel. This was declared at a Special Court in Mumbai on Saturday 5th January 2019 on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate. Last month, the court had rejected Mallya’s plea seeking a stay on hearing of ED’s application to declare him FUGITIVE. The decision from the Judicature had come after five parties, including a family member of Mallya, sought Court Dossiers with regard to get Mallya declared as a FEO.
The Special Courts, under the new law, have a right to declare a person a FUGITIVE ECONOMIC OFFENDER. The Courts can order immediate confiscation of the Offenders’ properties and other assets. A FEO is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing a scheduled offence and who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. Mallya is also facing money-laundering charges in the UK after India initiated extradition proceedings against him. The matter of Mallya’s extradition has now been referred to UK’s Secretary of State who is facing charges of loan default to the tune of Rs.9000 Crores.
“On Friday last, parliament was informed that 27 defaulting businessmen and economic offenders have fled the country in the last five years. Interpol has been approached to issue RED CORNER NOTICES (RCN) against 20 persons out of these 27, said Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla in a written reply in Lok Sabha. As per the ED, applications under the FEO Act 2018, have been filed against seven persons out of 27, the Minister said. Sri. Shukla also informed the House that Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London has recommended extradition of Vijay Mallya from the UK to India”.
Gone are the days of flamboyancy, the high-flying days, the making of skimpy clad model calendars, the kingfisher days with a whopping outstanding from fuel to the staff salaries and the most importantly the bank loan default, money laundering as well. Mr. Vijay Mallya now you can’t escape the SATURDAY’S VERDICT, BUT RETURN TO INDIA, NOT AS A FUGITIVE, “FUGITIVE ECONOMIC OFFENDER”.
VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, CHENNAI BASED ADVOCATE.