Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya on Monday lost his appeal against extradition in the UK High Court in London. Mallya had appealed against a 2018 decision to extradite him to India where he faces charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to INR 9,000 crore in unpaid bank loans after the collapse of his defunct company Kingfisher Airlines.
The case will now go to Indian-origin UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for a final decision.
Mallya’s lawyer, Clare Montgomery, had argued in the hearing in February that the 2018 extradition ruling by Judge Emma Arbuthnot had "multiple errors" because she did not take into account all the evidence about the financial status of Kingfisher Airlines.
A key defence to disprove a prima facie case of fraud and misrepresentation on Mallya’s part has revolved around the fact that Kingfisher Airlines was the victim of economic misfortune alongside other Indian airlines.
However, The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), appearing in court on behalf of the Indian government, argued that “there is enough in the 32,000 pages of overall evidence to fulfil the [extradition] treaty obligations that there is a case to answer”.
On Monday, Lord Justice Stephen Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing, the two-member bench at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, dismissed Mallya’s appeal against extradition. The judgment was handed down remotely due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in the UK.
"We consider that while the scope of the prima facie case found by the SDJ [Senior District Judge] is in some respects wider than that alleged by the Respondent in India [Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED)], there is a prima facie case which, in seven important respects, coincides with the allegations in India," the judges ruled.