A United Kingdom court on Monday ordered the extradition of former Kingfisher Airlines boss Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in India for alleged financial irregularities and loan default amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crore. The Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London had been hearing the Vijay Mallya extradition trial for more than a year now.
What is the Vijay Mallya extradition case?
Eight years after United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL) chairman Vijay Mallya commercially launched his Kingfisher Airlines, a luxury air carrier, in May 2005, a consortium of Indian banks led by the State Bank of India approached UBHL for the payback of a loan amounting to Rs 6,493 crore that had been taken on behalf of Kingfisher Airlines.
Having incurred continuous losses since the beginning, the airline was running high debts and had closed its operations in 2012. As on 2016, Kingfisher Airlines owed its 3,000 employees Rs 300 crore in salary.
Vijay Mallya fled to London in March 2016. Almost a year later, India sent a request to the UK extradite the “fugitive” liquor baron who owed nearly Rs 9,000 crore (including interest) to 17 Indian banks. Hearing the Vijay Mallya extradition trial since December 4, 2017, the London court finally gave its ruling on Monday, 10 December.
Vijay Mallya extradition: Chronology of the case
March 3, 2016: Vijay Mallya flees India, taking refuge in London.
February, 2017: India sends extradition request to United Kingdom.
April 18, 2017: Mallya surrenders at a central London police station and is arrested by the Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant. He is released on bail within hours on a bail bond of 650,000 pounds.
June 13, 2017: The Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London holds the first case management hearing, extends Mallya’s bail until December 2017, when the extradition trial is to start.
July 6, 2017: Mallya appears in court for a hearing despite an exemption order.
September 14, 2017: Court holds another case management hearing. Mallya’s defence team says they plan to depose six experts who they intend to rely upon in their evidence.
October 3, 2017: Mallya is re-arrested in a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). He is released on the same bail conditions as the CBI and ED cases are clubbed.
November 20, 2017: A pre-trial hearing takes note of additional “supplemental” charges of money laundering to the previous charges of the Rs 9,000-crore fraud.
December 4, 2017: The Vijay Mallya extradition trial begins.
December 5, 2017: Mallya’s defence team claims there was no evidence to support the “nonsensical” case of fraud.
December 7, 2017: Mallya’s defence claims his offer to pay back nearly 80% of the principal loan amount owed to the Indian banks had been rejected.
December 11, 2017: Hearing resumes. Mallya’s defence deposes its experts trying to establish that the case against him is “politically motivated”.
December 12, 2017: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) tells a political expert deposed by defence that he had relied on flawed material to discredit CBI and ED.
December 13, 2017: Defence seeks to discredit suitability of Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail where Mallya is to be kept after extradition. CPS dismisses claims of UK-based prison service expert Dr Alan Mitchell’s witness statements.
December 14, 2017: Evidence stage of the trial concludes.
January 11, 2018: The judge begins to hear arguments for and against the admissibility of certain evidence in the case.
March 16, 2018: The judge notes that it is “blindingly obvious” that Indian banks broken rules while sanctioning some of the loans to Kingfisher Airlines.
April 27, 2018: Judge confirms bulk of the evidence submitted by CBI will be deemed admissible in the extradition case.
July 31, 2018: The court asks India to submit a video of the Arthur Road Jail to clear doubts over its suitability.
September 12, 2018: Appearing for the final hearing, Mallya tells media outside the court that he met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before he left India in March 2016. Jaitley says it’s factually incorrect.
December 10, 2018: Westminster Magistrates’ Court judge orders extradition of Mallya. The UK Secretary of State will now have to sign Mallya’s extradition order within two months. Mallya’s defence can appeal in higher courts in the UK against the verdict.