Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Sci-tech | By Javier West

Vijay Mallya can be considered 'fugitive from justice': UK High Court

Vijay Mallya can be considered 'fugitive from justice': UK High Court

Significantly, the judge also refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya's assets and upheld a Karnataka debt tribunal's ruling that a consortium of 13 Indian banks were entitled to recover funds amounting to almost Rs 10,404 crore from the businessman.

The worldwide freezing order prevents him from removing any assets from England and Wales up to that value or to in any way dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of his assets in or outside of this jurisdiction, up to the same value.

The UK High Court on Wednesday said that businessman Vijay Mallya can be regarded as a "fugitive from justice".

"The evidence indicates that prior to March 2016 Dr Mallya travelled fairly regularly between India and England for business and political reasons".

Henshaw ruled that India's Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) judgement from January 19, 2017 which states that Mallya owes around Rs 9,000 crore to the banks, can now be legally registered and enforced in England.

"It is common ground that Dr Mallya holds his assets through a network of complex ownership structures". These comprise three yachts, numerous cars and the Mabula Game Reserve in South Africa. The decision by United Kingdom high court states that DRT judgment against Mallya is legal. A group of 13 Indian banks led by the country's largest lender, the state-owned State Bank of India, has been trying to lay their hands on him. Andrew Henshaw's judgment in Mallya's case has given the Indian banks, the Indian government and the Indian investigative agencies a hope that they would be able to get this Mallya and any future Mallyas extradited for prosecution.

"This is a positive and big step forward".

"We are considering all of our options with our clients the worldwide freezing order has worldwide effect, so it's all of his assets wherever they may be".

"Today's judgment is a very important decision not just for our clients, who want to proceed in this jurisdiction with enforcing the judgment they secured against Dr Mallya in India, but also for Indian and global banks more generally", Paul Gair from United Kingdom law firm TLT which represented the Indian banks in the London court said after court's decision.

Extradition attempts to India have so far been unsuccessful, as Mallya claims the extradition order is politically motivated.

Mallya has told Indian Courts that he is unable to appear before them despite "best intentions" as his passport has been revoked.

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