Mallya to appeal against UK court's extradition verdict

Vijay Mallya. Reuters Photo

Vijay Mallya intends to file an application to appeal against a British court's verdict in favour of his extradition to India, the embattled liquor baron's legal team confirmed on Wednesday.

The 63-year-old businessman told reporters soon after the ruling by Westminster Magistrates’ Court Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot last week that he would consider the verdict in detail and decide his next course of action.

"Mallya has now been able to consider the court's decision and intends to file an application for permission to appeal at the appropriate time," said Anand Doobay, Partner at UK-based Boutique Law LLP, who has been Mallya’s solicitor through the extradition trial process.

Under the Extradition Treaty procedures, the Chief Magistrate’s verdict has been sent to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid because it is the minister who is authorised to order Mallya’s extradition and has two months within which to make that decision.

The Home Secretary’s order rarely goes against the court's conclusions as he has to consider only some very narrow bars to extradition which are unlikely to apply in this case, including the possible imposition of a death penalty in a particular case.

"Whatever that decision (by the Home Secretary), the losing side has up to 14 days within which to approach the High Court and seek leave to appeal. Any appeal – if granted – will be heard at the Administrative Court [High Court],” noted a statement by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which represents the Indian government in the extradition case.

Meanwhile, Mallya remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April last year after the Indian authorities brought fraud and money laundering charges amounting to Rs 9,000 crores against the former Kingfisher Airlines boss.

While Mallya's legal team had argued in the UK court that the default on the loans sought by the now-defunct airline were the result of business failure, the CPS had claimed fraudulent intentions by the businessman in seeking and then dispersing those loans.

Judge Arbuthnot, in her ruling delivered on December 10 at the end of a year-long trial, concluded there is a case to answer in the Indian courts over substantial "misrepresentations" by the "flashy billionaire" of his financial dealings.

The judgment had also dismissed the defence team's attempt to challenge the case on human rights grounds by claiming that Barrack 12 of Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where the businessman is to be detained following his extradition, did not meet the requirements.

The UK court said it was satisfied with the various assurances provided by the Indian government, including a video of the jail cell, which had not only been recently redecorated but was also far larger than the minimum required threshold.

Mallya needs permission to appeal against this verdict within 14 days of the Home Secretary’s decision, and the case would then proceed to the UK High Court if the appeal is allowed.

There is some limited recourse for the case to go on to a further level of the Supreme Court, but that is only possible if the High Court certifies that the appeal involves a point of law of general public importance, and either the High Court or the Supreme Court gives leave for the appeal to be made. 

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Mallya to appeal against UK court's extradition verdict

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