London: Embattled Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender, was arrested on Tuesday in London by Scotland Yard on India’s request for his extradition on fraud charges.
The 61-year-old liquor baron, wanted in India for defaulting on loans, was arrested after he appeared at a central London police station this morning. The flamboyant businessman, who once called himself ‘The King of Good Times’, was released on bail a few hours later.
“Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Extradition Unit this morning arrested a man on an extradition warrant. Vijay Mallya was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud,” Scotland Yard said.
The Metropolitan Police said Mallya was arrested after attending a central London police station. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London and was seen walking out with his legal team a few hours later after being granted bail.
“It was a voluntary action. He will be out in a few minutes,” said a member of Mallya’s team at the court, without giving any further details of the bail conditions.
“Usual Indian media hype. The extradition hearing in court started today as expected,” Mallya tweeted soon after getting bail.
Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016. He has repeatedly dismissed the charges against him. In January, an Indian court ordered a consortium of lenders to start the process of recovering the loans.
Senior Indian officials described his arrest as the first salvo in the case, which will now involve a legal process in the UK to determine if Mallya can be extradited to India to face charges in Indian courts.
The arrest comes weeks after Arun Jaitley had indicated that Mallya’s extradition would feature in his talks during his visit to the UK.