UK won’t de­port Mallya; ex­tra­di­tion route open

IN­DIA FIRM Jait­ley tells Ra­jya Sabha govt will start process to get biz­man back

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Correspondent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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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