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Vijay Mallya Arrested by Scotland Yard in London, Granted Bail

File photo of liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

File photo of liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya who is wanted in India for defaulting on loans worth Rs 9,000 crore has been arrested in London.

New Delhi: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya who is wanted in India for defaulting on loans worth Rs 9,000 crore has been arrested by the Scotland Yard in London. He was produced before the Westminster Magistrates' Court there and was granted bail.

Mallya, who has been declared an absconder in India, is likely to be extradited and a team from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will visit the United Kingdom soon.

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The Westminster Magistrate told CNN-News18 that Mallya had been granted conditional bail pending deposit of £650,000 prior to his release from custody. The extradition hearing will be on May 17 at 2pm.

Soon after getting bail, Mallya took to Twitter to hit out at the Indian media.

A press statement by London Metropolitan Police said: “Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday 18 April arrested a man on an extraction warrant. Vijay Mallya, 61 (18/12/1955), was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud. He was arrested after attending a central London police station, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court later today, 18 April.”

Sources told CNBC TV18 that the process of Mallya’s arrest was put in motion after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s visit to London in February when he personally appealed to British PM Theresa May on the issue.

Sources in New Delhi said the UK government had two options before it — deportation and extradition. But since Mallya legally entered the UK with a valid passport, deportation was ruled out. A London court will now decide whether Mallya is given bail or sent to judicial custody.

Soon after reports of the arrest, BJP MP Subramaniam Swamy congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Thanks and congratulations to PM Modi for this. Modi means business and he was always in a fight against corruption. It's time for Mallya to go to jail,” Swamy told CNN-News18. “This is just the beginning…. Lalit Modi could be next."

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani said Mallya has the option of challenging his extradition. “Deportation can happen, but extradition may take time,” told CNN-News18.

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Mallya has repeatedly refused to appear before courts and investigators in India since he secretly fled to Britain last March, after defaulting on loan payments to state-owned banks and allegedly misusing the funds.

His financial dealings are being investigated by the CBI and federal Enforcement Directorate. The prosecution lawyer for the ED against Mallya is Hiten Venegaonkar. Speaking to CNN-News18, he said: “The extradition process will take less than a month. Chances of him getting bail are grim.”

Mallya, known for his extravagant lifestyle and who once branded himself the ‘King of Good Times', was sacked in February from the board of United Breweries, the firm through which he once controlled his business empire.

He made Kingfisher beer a global brand and ran a now-defunct airline with the same name, besides being the owner of a cricket side and a Formula One team.

More than half a dozen court warrants have already been issued against his name, and he owes banks at least Rs 9,000 crore.

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In January, a court ordered a consortium of lenders to start the process of recovering the loans.

India had given a formal extradition request for Mallya as per the Extradition Treaty between India and the UK through a note verbale on February 8.

While handing over the request, India had asserted that it has a "legitimate" case against Mallya and maintained that if an extradition request is honoured, it would show British "sensitivity towards our concerns".

Last month, setting in motion the process of extradition of Mallya, the British government had certified India's request and sent it to a district judge for further action.

The extradition process from the UK involves a number of steps, including a decision by the judge whether to issue a warrant of arrest. In case of a warrant, the person is arrested and brought before the court for preliminary hearing followed by an extradition hearing before a final decision is taken by the secretary of state.

The wanted person has a right to appeal to the higher courts against any decision all the way up to the supreme court.

Earlier in January this year, a CBI court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in the Rs 720-crore IDBI Bank loan default case.

Mallya, who remains a part-owner of the Force India Formula One team, has come to personify India's problems with bad debts that are piling up on the balance sheets of banks.