In a reprieve to embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, the UK High Court on Tuesday allowed him to appeal against his extradition order signed by the UK home secretary Sajid Javid to face alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to £900 million in India. After hearing arguments from Mallya's barrister Clare Montgomery, a two-member bench of the Royal Courts of Justice concluded that reasonable arguments could be made on some aspects of Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot’s ruling in favour of a prima facie case of fraud and money laundering against the 63-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss last December.
The bench comprising Justices George Leggatt and Andrew Popplewell handed down its judgment at the end of the hearing seeking permission to appeal against extradition to face charges in India. While the judges dismissed a majority of the five grounds as well as any ground to challenge UK home secretary's signing on the extradition order, they did grant permission for Mallya’s defence team to present arguments on aspects of the evidence relied upon to build a case of fraud against Mallya.
They have given directions to submit a draft for the appeal to proceed and ascertain the time frame for the hearing. The case will now proceed to a full hearing stage, the time-frame for which is to be determined in the coming weeks. Talking to reporters outside the court, Mallya described the ruling as a "vindication". He told the media that he has always maintained that the charges against him were fabricated and repeated his offer to pay back the debt owed to Indian banks.