New Delhi– Fugitive Indian businessman Vijay Mallya was on Tuesday arrested in London in a money laundering case but later granted bail by a city court there, officials said here.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the money laundering case against Mallya, in a statement, said that Mallya was arrested by the British Police “in pursuance of the request sent by the agency for his extradition”.

Sources in the ED said that Mallya was later granted bail by Westminster court within half-an-hour after his arrest on the similar grounds on which he was earlier allowed bail.

“A fresh application was routed through the Ministry of External Affairs for the extradition of Vijay Mallya. The application has since been filed before the concerned Court in London, through the Crown Prosecution Service. The matter came up for hearing today (Tuesday). In pursuance of same, Mallya was arrested,” the ED statement said.

Mallya is already facing extradition proceedings in Britain in a criminal case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the statement said.

Vijay Mallya

The flamboyant businessman, known for his lavish lifestyle, was arrested by the Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant on April 18. He was, however, released on conditional bail immediately after he provided a bail bond of 650,000 pounds.

The ED, which started its probe on January 25, 2016, had issued three summons to Mallya, who however, deliberately chose to avoid presenting himself before the Directorate in defiance of the due process of law and left the country.

A two-member ED team also visited London in July this year to submit a 5,500-page chargesheet against Mallya in a step to seek his extradition. The chargesheet has details on the money trail, how Mallya diverted funds from Rs 900 crore loan received from IDBI Bank to group entities in India and several other countries via numerous shell companies.

Mallya fled to Britain after being pursued for recovery of Rs 8,191 crore owed to a consortium of 17 Indian banks by his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

The Indian government had in February this year, handed over to British authorities a formal request for Mallya’s extradition, saying it had a legitimate case against him on charges of financial irregularities and loan default.

The ED has also written to six countries to get information on financial dealings of Mallya to probe the alleged illegal laundering of over Rs 1,300 crore he had made through 13 shell companies in the US, Ireland, Mauritius and France.

On ED’s request, Mallya’s passport was revoked in April 2016 and the agency so far has attached his properties worth Rs 9,890 crore. (IANS)

IndUS Business Journal

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