A UK judge who ordered Vijay Mallya's extradition expressed her shock at the failure of some of the state-owned Indian banks to obtain proper credit reports before sanctioning loans to the former Kingfisher Airlines boss.
A UK judge who ordered Vijay Mallya’s extradition expressed her shock at the failure of some of the state-owned Indian banks to obtain proper credit reports before sanctioning loans to the former Kingfisher Airlines boss. Judge Emma Arbuthnot, Chief Magistrate at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, Monday ruled that the 62-year-old businessman had a prima facie case of fraud and money laundering to answer and ordered extradition of Mallya, wanted for alleged bank fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crores.
The judge, who was extremely critical of Indian banks, expressed her shock at the failure to obtain proper credit reports before certain loans were sanctioned by some of the state-owned Indian banks. “There was a failure to ensure that the guarantees were formally taken when they should have been and a failure to investigate the representations that KFA [Kingfisher Airlines] made at various stages to obtain the loans,” she said. The judge described these as “continuing failures” by banks and said it remained unclear from the evidence before her if these were by design and with a hidden financial motive.
“Or it is a case of a bank who were in the thrall of this glamorous, flashy, famous, bejewelled, bodyguarded, ostensibly billionaire playboy who charmed and cajoled these bankers into losing their common sense and persuading them to put their own rules and regulations to one side,” she said, in one of her most critical statements in the judgment. “If the criteria for lending to KFA had been applied, if the background checks had been carried out, the loans should not have been granted,” she noted. In an indication that some bank employees may have been involved in a wider conspiracy, the judge concluded she did find a prima facie case of a conspiracy to defraud which involves not just the KFA executives but also some bankers at the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) who were named in the Indian government case.
“Conspiracies are very rarely proved with direct evidence and there is none in this case but there is evidence that the GOI [government of India] relies on from which it says the court can draw inferences that the bankers were involved in a conspiracy with KFA,” the judgment noted.