Following the UK government's agreement to the extradition of the embattled Kingfisher boss, a defiant Vijay Mallya has confirmed his plans to initiate a lengthy appeal process against the order.
The 63-year-old’s extradition was approved by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Sunday, boosting India’s efforts to bring back the fugitive businessman after the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on December 9, 2018, ordered Mallya’s extradition.
Mallya, who is facing charges of fraud, money laundering and violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to the tune of INR 9,000 crore, has two weeks to lodge a permission to appeal in the High Court after Javid signed off on his extradition order. Hours later, Mallya took to social media to confirm his plans to appeal against the decision.
“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 said in a statement on Twitter.
Once the application is made, the court will consider whether there are grounds for the appeal to be admitted and that in turn would trigger another set of hearings over the next few months in the Administrative Court, which is part of the UK High Court.
“It could take months for the case to be heard as the court gets very clogged up and the whole process could take up to five or six months,” explained Sarosh Zaiwalla, Founder and Senior Partner of UK-based law firm Zaiwalla & Co.
“The Crown Prosecution Service (arguing on behalf of the Indian government) could apply for an expedited appeal process but it is not common for this to be granted. You would have to show the need of urgency,” he said.
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.
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.
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.