The UK High Court on Tuesday allowed fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya to appeal against his extradition order signed off by the UK home secretary to face alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to Rs 9,000 crores in India.
The 63-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss said he was feeling "positive" as he entered the Royal Courts of Justice, where Justices George Leggatt and Andrew Popplewell began hearing the arguments from his barrister Clare Montgomery.
She told the court that the Requesting State, or the government of India, and the UK Home Secretary had chosen not to be represented. This indicates that the onus lies entirely on Mallya's defence team to establish the grounds for permission to appeal against the lower court’s ruling in favour of the extradition.
Representatives from the Indian High Commission in London were present in court to observe the proceedings.
Mallya's case will now proceed to a full hearing stage at the UK High Court. The appeal marks one of the final stages of the appeals process, as the chances of permission to appeal to the Supreme Court were unlikely if such permission had been denied at the High Court stage.
Meanwhile, Mallya has continued to make a series of interventions on social media to offer "100 per cent payback" to state-owned Indian banks to cover his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines’ debt. He remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017, involving a bail bond worth 650,000 pounds and other restrictions on his travel.
At the end of a year-long extradition trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London last December, Judge Arbuthnot had found "clear evidence of dispersal and misapplication of the loan funds" and accepted a prima facie case of fraud and a conspiracy to launder money against Mallya, as presented by the CPS.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI)