A court in London ruled on December 10 that Vijay Mallya can be extradited to face charges in India. However, it may be a while before he actually lands in India to face trial for wilful default of a Rs 9,000-crore loan and allied charges. The court sent Mallya’s file to the UK Home Office, which will decide if the extradition will take place. The process is expected to take around eight weeks, during which time both Mallya and the Indian government could make representations. “It is possible that Mallya will press for political asylum in the UK at this time. That is currently the first way out. He will have to move while the magistrate’s order is being studied by the UK Home Office,” a top official involved in the case tells Outlook.
The second way out is that Mallya’s lawyers can appeal to the High Court of Justice in England, and during that time, the extradition order will be stayed. The hearing could be done by August or September 2019. Any subsequent appeal by Mallya or the Indian government to the UK Supreme Court will have to be approved by the High Court judge who gives the ruling. That leaves a slim chance for the repatriation to take place before next year’s Lok Sabha elections. Yet, it puts the government in a position to negotiate in case of a settlement, which Mallya has been trying to work out.