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'Mallya's extradition to India will take months'

December 10, 2018 23:07 IST

Mallya has an automatic right to appeal in the UK High Court against the Chief Magistrate's order but is yet to confirm if he plans to do that.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

A UK court on Monday ordered Vijay Mallya's extradition  but it will be months before the Indian government is able to bring back the former Kingfisher Airlines boss to face the Indian courts over allegations of fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crore.

 

Judge Emma Arbuthnot ruled at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London that Mallya has a prima facie case of fraud to answer and sent her decision to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who is to sign off on the extradition order under the extradition arrangements between India and the UK.

"Ultimately it is with the minister, however, the minister would not be able to overturn the extradition judgment," explains Sarosh Zaiwalla, Founder & Senior Partner at UK-based law firm Zaiwalla & Co.

Mallya has an automatic right to appeal in the UK High Court against the Chief Magistrate's order but is yet to confirm if he plans to do that.

"Do I regret being in a situation when I am reading legal papers and paying legal fees, yes I do. I could have done something more productive with my time. But it is what it is," Mallya told reporters after the verdict.

"My legal team will review the judgment in detail, consider various options and then I will decide going forward. There is a process ahead," he said.

Meanwhile, he remains on the same bail conditions on which he was arrested in April 2017, which involves a bail bond worth 650,000 pounds.

"Mallya is not likely to be extradited to India for months. Following the extradition judgment today, Mallya now has 14 days to appeal, during which period he wouldn't be arrested, but would remain on bail," Zaiwalla said.

If the High Court order also goes against Mallya, he could apply for the right to appeal to the Supreme Court, which would involve at least another six weeks and if he won the right to do so that could take up to a year.

"The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) could apply for an expedited appeal process but it is not common for this to be granted. You would have to show the need of urgency," added Zaiwalla.

While it is not uncommon for a court of appeal to overturn the verdict of a lower court, Monday's verdict marks the completion of the first phase in what is expected to be a long-drawn extradition process.

Aditi Khanna in London
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