True to its promise, the determination and persistent approach of the Modi government in the Vijay Mallya case, both diplomatically and legally, has paid off if one goes by the arrest of the tycoon by Scotland Yard in London. Though Mallya was released on bail in three hours, the core of his arguments against banks and investigators in India which has been that he hadn’t borrowed the money that is owed to banks by his companies personally, but his airline (the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines) did, hence the default cannot be his personal responsibility, now stands weakened. The very fact
The very fact that UK authorities found merit in India’s argument of Mallya being an economic offender, enough to execute his arrest, snatched away the ‘victim card’ Mallya had used so far to insulate him from investigations in the Kingfisher case.
Even though multiple Indian courts had issued summons and warrants against Mallya, till now, the tycoon was not obliged
to answer to any UK authorities about the alleged wrongdoings in the Kingfisher loan case to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore but
the arrest in UK makes him answerable to the charge to the government and legal system of that country. He is no longer the businessman who is personally targeted by banks and sleuths for ‘no fault of his’ but for ‘business failure’.
He is an absconder and a suspect who was arrested on charges of engaging in serious financial irregularities in his home country.
It is not likely that Vijay Mallya will get extradited back to India in the immediate future, but that the Indian government’s efforts are on in right earnest is undeniable. According to the figures released by the Ministry of External Affairs on March 22, India has only successfully extradited 62 persons since 2002. The India Extradition Act was formulated in 1962 to seek custody of people trying to escape into foreign countries to evade Indian criminal justice system.
The extradition treaty between India and UK clearly states that the requested state, which is UK in Mallya’s case, can ask for additional information and evidence if it finds the submitted evidence is not enough for them to come to a conclusion for granting extradition. This would inevitably delay the process, but the controversial tycoon who has defrauded thousands of investors and his own staff is not off the hook. The Indian investigators will indeed have to burn the midnight oil. The Modi government cannot lose track of the fact that the UK court final verdict in the extradition case will have a huge bearing on several similar cases of loan default by many Indian businessmen now in the UK.