LONDON/NEW DELHI: Fugitive billionaire, Karnataka-based businessman Vijay Mallya is at his wits’ end. On Thursday, Mallya lost his plea in the UK high court to allow him appeal his extradition to India, in the UK Supreme Court. Mallya will have nearly four week’s time for formalities to be gone through. The UK home secretary Preeti Patel is the authority to sign the extradition papers.
There is one course still open to Mallya to approach the European Court. Considering the resources that he has, he might still wage a last fight to escape extradition. Another fugitive, Sanjeev Chawla, did make a similar attempt, but did not succeed. Mallya owes 17 Indian banks as high as Rs 90,000crore – meaning $1.3billion. It is suspected that he funneled the money abroad to invest in over 40 companies abroad.
In 2017, Mallya was arrested by the UK police, following complaints that went to UK home ministry from the Indian government, through the ED and CBI.
Sixty-five year-old Mallya, who styled himself at the height of his glory as ‘King of Good Times’ is son of Mittal Mallya, son of topline brewery founder who established tge Kingfisher brand. It was in 2016 that he escaped from the country after a consortium of banks approached the Supreme Court to get permission to attach his properties, after designating him a willful defaulter of huge loan repayments. A willful defaulter, as per legal parlance, is one who has the capacity to repay but would not.
Mallya escaped to the UK, where he has solid assets, and did so in a secret manner, carrying with him loads and loads of baggage in tow.
The playboy businessman, who married twice and sports young girls around him, had started Kingfisher airlines, in 2005, but its failure was one reason why Mallya had to face odds in business as also his life. The airline became insolvent and closed down around 2013. Mallya, among other things, is accused of misappropriation and money laundering – which most other Indian business honchos appear to be doing too.
In June, 2016, the Enforcement Directorate, after investigations, attached properties worth over Rs 1,400crore ($200million) in various cities, apart from properties he purchased out of bank loans, worth over Rs 800crore. There were allegations that he transferred funds worth over Rs 4,000crore ($560million) to tax havens abroad.
Mallya was a member of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka with support from the Janata Dal and the Congress party, for different terms, first in 2002 and later in 2010 respectively. – IHN-NN
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