LONDON: Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya’s written appeal against an extradition order passed by a magistrate late last year has been rejected by a High Court judge in the United Kingdom. He will now face an oral hearing on his appeal against the decision.
The Westminister Magistrate’s Court had ruled against the 62-year-old businessman, who is wanted in India on charges of not paying back loans worth Rs. 9,000 crore, on December 9 last year. Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had concluded that Vijay Mallya has a case to answer in the Indian courts over substantial “misrepresentations” of his financial dealings while he was heading the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Vijay Mallya’s fortunes have been sinking lately, with defence lawyers recently telling Indian banks that he is willing to cut his spending to a comparatively lower amount of 29,500 pounds a month. The businessman’s debtors — who accuse him of wilfully defaulting on loans taken by Kingfisher Airlines — are now seeking to seize about 258,000 pounds stashed in his account. They allege that Vijay Mallya continues to lead a “lavish lifestyle” despite his legal challenges.
Last heard, he was spending about 18,300 pounds a week. A court document released earlier this week revealed that the businessman’s weekly expenditure on groceries came up to over 1,000 pounds a week, and he sees “no need to rein in his spending to reflect his reduced circumstances”.
The walls, however, continue to close in on him. A special court dealing with offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) declared him a fugitive economic offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act on January 5 — paving the way for the authorities to attach his properties.
Vijay Mallya termed the move as “draconian”, and categorically claimed that it will not help the creditors.