Vijay Mallya on Monday lost the UK High Court appeal against his extradition. The dismissal of the High Court appeal came as a major achievement for the agency which has been tirelessly pursuing his extradition from the UK.
It is a significant achievement in the continuing war against economic fugitives, an elated CBI said on Monday, hours after a British court rejected embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s appeal against his extradition to India for allegedly defrauding banks of nearly Rs 9,000 crore. “It is a significant achievement in continuing war against economic fugitives who have been managing to stay away from the judicial process in the country,” CBI Spokesperson RK Gaur said. He said it also validates the painstaking and meticulous investigation done by the CBI.
Mallya on Monday lost the UK High Court appeal against his extradition. The dismissal of the High Court appeal came as a major achievement for the agency which has been tirelessly pursuing his extradition from the UK with the then Head of Special Investigation Team of the CBI Rakesh Asthana regularly attending London hearings followed by Joint Director Anurag.
The ruling by the High Court gives 64-year-old Mallya, who is on bail, 14-days to approach the UK Supreme Court.
If he does not use the appeal at the apex court he would be sent to India in accordance with provisions of India-UK Extradition Treaty. The CBI case against Mallya’ extradition pertained to alleged fraud of Rs 900 crore at IDBI bank.
Sources at senior positions said the the UK courts gave judgements in the favour of the CBI because of “quality of investigation” done by the agency.
The task before the agency was to convince the courts that India has a “prima facie” case against Mallya based which he should be extradited to face trial before Indian courts, they said. The proceedings were almost like a trial with Mallya taking six point defence all rejected by the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, London (UK), they said.
Mallya took the plea that the lower court which cleared his extradition was wrong to conclude that a prima facie case is made out which is not being prosecuted in India, erred in law in its approach to the prima facie case test, prima facie case of conspiracy to defraud was made out, a prima facie case of fraud by false representation was made out, a prima facie case of money laundering was made out and also erred in its approach he admissibility of the his evidence. All these points have been rejected by the High Court, they said.
The CBI had filed a charge sheet against Mallya on January 24, 2017 and a supplementary charge sheet on June 1, 2017, before special CBI courts in Mumbai, they said. Mallya had slipped through the nose of Indian agencies in March, 2016 but the CBI did not relent and filed an extradition to the UK authorities on February 09, 2017 through diplomatic channels. “The extradition folder contained the details of evidences against the fugitive under a duly sworn affidavit and attested by the Court of Special Judge, CBI Cases, Mumbai,” CBI Spokesperson said here.
The extradition request was based strong arguments of the CBI that misrepresentations were allegedly made to the IDBI bank to induce it to sanction and disburse loans of Rs 900 crore in three tranche in 2009. “These included dishonest and deliberate misrepresentations and concealment of brand value of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd., inflation of the security value, false promises of equity infusion and future rosy projections, among others,” the spokesperson said.
The CBI alleged that there was dishonest use of the loans so sanctioned and disbursed by IDBI bank and diversion thereof against the terms of sanction. “Wilful and intentional default on the loans availed and continuing intention to cheat manifest in alienation of personal assets in violation of the personal guarantee agreement, removal of funds from personal account, alienation of assets of UBHL, causing impediments in the banks recovery efforts etc,” it said.
The UK authorities arrested Mallya on April 20, 2017 and given bail. During 10-day hearing by Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot from December 04, 2017, a number of defence witnesses/experts were examined which was almost “like a full trial”, the sources said.
The agency provided detailed submissions following which the judge on December 10, 2018 recommended the case to secretary of state to consider the extradition of Mallya to India, the spokesperson said. Secretary of State ordered extradition of Mallya on February 04, 2019. Mallya appealed against the order of Senior District Judge and subsequent extradition order of the Secretary of State.
The UK High Court started the hearing the appeal from February 11 and revered the order on Monday. “While dismissing the appeal, the judges have concluded that there was a prima facie case of conspiracy to defraud, misrepresentation, conspiracy and also a prima facie case of money laundering against Vijay Mallya. The UK High Court has highlighted 7 important aspects of prima facie case, as found by SDJ coincides of allegations in India,” the spokesperson said.
He said the judgment is a significant achievement in CBI’s efforts to curb corruption and is a reminder that fugitives cannot consider themselves as above the law merely because they have changed jurisdictions, he said. “The judgment also vindicates the painstaking investigation by CBI, especially since Mallya had raised various issues with regard to the admissibility of evidence, the fairness of investigation itself and extraneous consideration, with a view to divert attention from his own acts,” he said.