UK won’t deport Mallya; extradition route open
INDIA FIRM Jaitley tells Rajya Sabha govt will start process to get bizman back
NEW DELHI: Britain has refused to deport Vijay Mallya and asked New Delhi to seek his extradition, the government said on Wednesday, in a setback to India’s efforts to bring back the embattled liquor baron who left the country owing more than Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of banks.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha that India will initiate the process of extraditing Mallya to face investigators probing money laundering charges. The British government’s response came nearly a fortnight after India made a request for the deportation of Mallya, whose diplomatic passport was revoked last month.
Cancellation of passport “does not result in automatic deportation, that is the stand taken by UK”, Jaitley said. Mallya resigned from the Rajya Sabha this month.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said quoting the British government that it acknowledges “the seriousness of allegations” against Mallya and was “keen to assist” the Indian government.
The 60-year-old flamboyant businessman, once known as the ‘king of good times’, left the country on March 2 as creditor banks closed in on him to recover dues running up to Rs 9,400 crore.
Although his exact whereabouts are not known, he is believed to be living in a plush mansion ‘Ladywalk at Tewin’ in Hertfordshire near London. Mallya said in a recent interview that he is living in “forced exile”.
He was once hailed as India’s version of British tycoon Richard Branson for his investments in a brewing and liquor company, an airline, a Formula One team and an IPL franchise.
His downfall was triggered by the failure of Kingfisher Airlines, which he launched in 2005. The government suspended the airline’s license in 2012.
Sources in the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which probes financial crimes, said the agency will take a set of measures to bring back Mallya.
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