London, Apr 18: Business tycoon, former Rajya Sabha MP and master defaulter Vijay Mallya was Tuesday arrested in London by the Scotland Yard police but was granted bail by the London Metropolitan Court within three hours of his arrest.
The Indian government hailed his arrest as a major boost to its attempt to bring the business tycoon to India to face trial in a number of cases related to economic offences.
The 61-year Mallya who owned Kingfisher Airlines among other businesses, was wanted for load fraud and money laundering charges. Confirming his arrest the Scotland Yard said in a statement, “Vijay Mallya was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud…” He has been granted conditional bail pending a deposit of 650,000 pounds or Rs. 5.3 crore, say sources.
Mally tweeted about his arrest:
A hearing in a Westminster court was the first step in what could be a long legal battle for extradition. Mallya can challenge his extradition in lower and higher courts, which can take months.
The government had requested the UK in February to extradite the flamboyant entrepreneur, who fled India a year ago amid attempts by a group of banks to recover around Rs. 9,000 crore in loans to his collapsed Kingfisher Airlines.
The process took rapid strides weeks after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, during a visit to the UK, reportedly raised with British leaders that a certain “fugitive” was overstaying in London. British Prime Minister Theresa May had dropped in on a meeting between Jaitley and his UK counterpart when the subject was raised, the PTI quoted sources as saying.
Earlier, when New Delhi asked the UK to deport Mallya saying his passport had been cancelled, British officials said he could legally stay on in London as he had a UK visa.
India then pursued extradition. Last month, the UK told India that its request had been certified by the Secretary of State.
Mallya has been charged with cheating and conspiracy by the CBI that filed a 1,000-page charge sheet against him for defaulting on a 900 crore loan taken from the IDBI bank in 2009. The CBI probe found that 250 crore of this - given to buy aircraft parts - was diverted abroad.
Amid multiple attempts to extradite him, Mallya appeared to dare the authorities as he attended high profile events in the UK linked to his Formula One team Sahara Force India.