In what could be the first step towards the process of his extradition, embattled liquor and aviation tycoon Vijay Mallya was arrested by the Scotland Yard in London earlier today, appeared in court and was later granted bail.
Mallya appeared in the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London for a hearing before being granted a conditional bail. Extradition formalities in the UK involve a preliminary hearing, followed by extradition hearings, and a final approval by the UK Secretary of State.
The Metropolitan Police, London, put out the following statement on his arrest:
"Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday 18 April arrested a man on an extradition 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."
In February, India had asked Britain to extradite Mallya, who has defaulted on about $1.4 billion owed by his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, and his diplomatic passport had been revoked earlier. There has been a non-bailable warrant out in his name and the Enforcement Directorate has accused his UB Group of using 4.3 billion rupees of bank loans to Kingfisher to buy property overseas, Reuters reported in April, 2016.
Mallya left India in 2015 amid efforts to recover over Rs 9,000 crores in alleged non-payment of dues by his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines owed to a consortium of banks. Creditor State Bank of India had rejected an offer of partial repayment. SBI and other creditors have demanded that Mallya attend a hearing in the Supreme Court of India.
Mallya was declared a proclaimed offender by a special Prevention Of Money Laundering Court on a plea by the Enforcement Directorate(ED) in connection with a money laundering probe against him.
In September, Mallya had said he wanted to return but is unable to as his passport has been revoked by Indian authorities, according to PTI. Mallya made the submission through his counsel before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass in a case lodged against him for allegedly evading summons in a FERA violation matter.
Mallya has claimed "innocence" in the alleged funds diversion, and said he was being subjected to a media trial and a "witch hunt" before anything could be proven in court. He also denied he absconded from India to avoid paying his companies' loans.