Liquor baron Vijay Mallya was arrested in London today before being released on bail for the second time this year, in a case of money laundering.
Business tycoon Vijay Mallya was arrested for the second time by the British police on Tuesday, this time in a case of alleged money laundering brought by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The charges are part of an investigation into defaults of loans worth around Rs9,000 crore by Mallya’s defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.
The flamboyant millionaire was presented before the Westminster Court and later released on bail until 4 December. He was arrested earlier on 18 April based on a chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and later released on bail. The CBI also filed an extradition plea in London, where Mallya is currently residing.
The 61-year-old former liquor baron, who appeared in court, said “No” to the chief magistrate’s query on whether he agreed to be extradited to India. The next hearing is scheduled for 20 November.
India made an extradition request in February to Britain to send back the businessman to face trial. He was arrested and released on bail in April this year following India’s extradition request. Indian agencies followed up the request with a 2,000-page dossier as evidence against Mr Mallya. Today, appearing calm and relaxed at the Westminster Magistrate Court in London, he refused to agree to being extradited. He was released on providing a bail bond worth 650,000 pounds.
The money laundering charges, authorities in India believe, make the case for an extradition stronger. According to an ED official who asked not to be identified, Tuesday’s arrest was based on the allegations of money laundering in the Kingfisher Airlines loan default case. CBI’s case, on the other hand, is based on charges of criminal conspiracy and fraud.
In June, ED filed a chargesheet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in a PMLA court in Mumbai, stating that Rs413 crore of a Rs900 crore loan given to Kingfisher Airlines by IDBI Bank Ltd was diverted through 13 shell companies. On 25 September, ED stated that it was preparing to file a second chargesheet against him in the same court.
Mallya diverted most of the Rs6,000 crore he borrowed from a State Bank of India-led consortium of lenders to shell companies in half-a-dozen countries, ED officials said then. Mallya flew out of India in March 2016, six days before a group of creditor-banks led by SBI moved the Supreme Court to restrain him from leaving India. They also sought an arrest warrant against Mallya and a security deposit to ensure his presence at the debt recovery tribunal proceedings in Bengaluru.