Embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who lost his UK high court appeal against an extradition order to India, has said that he is "disappointed" with the ruling but will continue to seek legal remedies as advised by his legal team.
The 64-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss reiterated that he has repeatedly offered to pay the Indian banks the loan amount owed by his now-defunct airline, an offer which the banks have rejected.
“I am naturally disappointed with the high court decision. I will continue to pursue further legal remedies as advised by my lawyers,” Mallya said in a statement on Monday evening.
“I have repeatedly offered to repay the banks in full, but sadly to no avail,” he said.
The dismissal of the appeal this week means Mallya has 14 days to apply for permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
As he has now indicated his intention to seek further legal measures, the UK home office would wait for the outcome of that appeal before it can formally certify the court order for Mallya to be extradited to India.
The businessman, who has been based in the UK since March 2016 and remains on bail after his arrest on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017, also expressed his disappointment with the “media narrative” which quotes Rs 9,000 crore as the amount owed in the fraud and money laundering case brought by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against him.
“I am also disappointed with the media narrative which states that I must face trial in India for a fraud of Rs 9,000 crore. Please note that the allegations against me and others are specifically and only related to three tranches of borrowing from IDBI Bank for a total of Rs 900 crores in 2009.
“This loan was subsumed along with loans from other banks within the Master Debt Recast Agreement of 2010. Following the DRT (Debt Recovery Tribunal) order for the payment of approximately Rs 5,000 crore by way of Principal and Rs 1,200 crore by way of unapplied interest making a total of Rs 6,200 crores, the banks have already recovered in cash a sum of Rs 2,500 crores, which is 50 per cent of the principal amount,” he claimed.
Mallya refers to paragraphs contained within the high court judgment handed down by Lord Justice Stephen Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing, the two-member bench at the Royal Courts of Justice in London presiding over the appeal, which refers to these specific amounts.
The judgment notes that between April and November 2009, five banks -- the State Bank of India (SBI), the Bank of India, the Bank of Baroda, the United Bank of India (UBI) and United Commercial Bank (UCO) -- extended loans to Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) totalling Rs 1,250 crore, leaving a shortfall of Rs 750 crore from the desired infusion of Rs 2,000 crore.
The KFA then approached an additional bank, the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), to make up that shortfall.
‘The Requesting State, the Government of India (GoI) seeks the extradition of the appellant (Mallya) in respect of these loans. It is said that the loans were obtained by means of a conspiracy to defraud and by means of fraudulent misrepresentations; it is further said that the Appellant engaged in money-laundering some of the proceeds of the loans,’ the judgment states.
In the judgment handed down on Monday, the high court judges upheld the December 2018 extradition order of the Westminster magistrates' court in London and accepted that ‘there is a prima facie case both of misrepresentation and of conspiracy, and thus there is also a prima facie case of money laundering’.
Mallya's legal team had claimed that the loan defaults by KFA were the result of wider issues faced by the aviation industry at the time.
But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian authorities, managed to establish a “blueprint of dishonesty” against the businessman and co-conspiring bankers.
Photograph: PTI Photo.