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Vijay Mallya loses right to appeal in UK Supreme Court, may be extradited within 28 days

Vijay Mallya’s extradition process is expected to be triggered within 28 days. India has been seeking his extradition on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to almost Rs 9,000 crore. 

May 15, 2020 12:17 IST
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Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s application to appeal at the UK Supreme Court against his extradition order to India was rejected by the London High Court on May 14, 2020. 

The move comes weeks after the High Court rejected his appeal against an extradition order by the Westminster Magistrates' Court, which was certified by the UK Home Secretary. Mallya had 14 days to file an application to seek permission to appeal at the UK Supreme Court against the High Court’s April 20 judgment. 

India has been seeking Mallya’s extradition from the UK so that he can face charges of fraud and money laundering.

What does this mean?

The London High Court’s latest ruling will go back for re-certification and the process of extradition is expected to be triggered within 28 days. India may finally succeed in getting Mallya back to face trial here. The 64-year-old is facing charges of money laundering in India in relation to the unrecovered loans of his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. 

London High Court order

The High Court had on April 20, 2020 upheld the Westminster Magistrates' Court’s 2018 ruling to extradit Mallya to India to face his pending charges.

On May 14, the High Court rejected his application, seeking to leave to appeal at the UK Supreme Court against the HC ruling on the extradition order. The High Court Judges -Lord Justice Irwin and Justice Elizabeth Laing- ruled that there was no point of law of general public importance to be involved in their decision. This means that the UK Supreme Court could have no jurisdiction over the case. 

Does Mallya have any other way out?

•  Vijay Mallya now has just one escape route left from his extradition to India - the European Court of Human Rights. He can obtain an emergency injunction, known as interim measures pursuant to Rule 39, from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the international court in Strasbourg, France. 

•  The Interim measures are normally decided within 48 hours. Mallya’s chances of getting interim measures are "moderate", according to a source. The source said that ECHR’s emergency injunction will depend on the kind of evidence he has on Indian prison conditions. Mallya could also raise the COVID-19 crisis.

•  The European Court of Human Rights will issue interim measures if it is convinced that there is a threat to his life or health if removed to India. If Mallya gets the emergency injunction, his extradition will have to wait until his case is heard by the ECHR, which could take around 5 years. 

•  However, if Mallya fails to get the injunction, he will have to be extradited to India within 28 days starting from May 14. The European Court of Human Rights focusses on protecting the human rights of people in countries that belong to the Council of Europe, of which Britain is a member. This Court has no connection to the European Union. 

Vijay Mallya appeals to Indian government to accept his loan repayment offer

Vijay Mallya had earlier offered to the central government that he will repay 100 percent of his loan dues and that the case against him should be closed. His offer was ignored by the government. Mallya had tweeted earlier on May 14 congratulating the Indian Government for the COVID-19 relief package.  “They can print as much currency as they want BUT should a small contributor like me who offers 100% payback of State-owned Bank loans be constantly ignored? Please take my money unconditionally and close,” Mallya offered again. 

Background

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed the order to extradite Indian business tycoon and liquor baron Vijay Mallya from the United Kingdom to India on February 3, 2019. The UK Home Secretary signed the order after having carefully considered all relevant matters. 

The move comes less than two months after the Westminster Magistrates' Court ordered the extradition of the fugitive businessman to face charges of fraud and money laundering filed against him in India. There was a nine-month-long trial on his extradition warrant, which began with his arrest in April 2017.

India has been seeking the Vijay Mallya’s extradition on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to almost Rs 9,000 crore. The business tycoon has been on bail since his arrest. 

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