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‘Mallya’s extradition will be a milestone in CBI’s quest for excellence’

Hours after liquor baron Vijay Mallya was on Thursday denied permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court against a High Court order that upheld a ruling to extradite him to India to face fraud charges, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that the order was a “milestone” in the agency’s quest for excellence and a reminder that economic offenders facing probes in large value frauds cannot consider themselves above the process merely because they have changed jurisdictions.

The remarks of the CBI came soon after the UK High Court on Thursday denied permission to Mallya to appeal to the Supreme Court against an order dated April 20.

A CBI spokesperson said in a statement: “The decision of the UK High Court to order extradition of Mallya is a milestone in CBI’s quest for excellence and a reminder that economic offenders, facing probes in large value frauds, cannot consider themselves above the process merely because they have changed jurisdictions.”

The spokesperson said the judgement also vindicated the “painstaking investigation” by the CBI, especially since Mallya had raised various issues with regard to the admissibility of evidence, the fairness of the investigation itself and extraneous consideration with a view to “divert attention” from his own acts.

The fresh decision ends Mallya’s legal options to challenge his extradition. The former parliamentarian, who ran India’s largest spirits company, United Spirits, and founded the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, faces charges of fraud and money laundering worth Rs 9,000 crore. He had left India in March 2016 under the pretext of personal reasons.

Mallya has defrauded at least 17 Indian banks, drawing loans which he allegedly routed to gain full or partial stake in about 40 companies abroad.

As per sources in London, now that Mallya’s legal options in the UK have exhausted, he may still attempt to pull strings in the office of UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who gets to have the final say on his extradition to India.

After losing an appeal in the London High Court against an extradition order to India, Mallya had filed an appeal in the UK Supreme Court last month.

The CBI official further said that the extradition of Mallya was sought to face trial for offences of cheating, criminal conspiracy and abuse of official position by public servants, wherein Mallya faced allegations of conspiring with public servants and dishonestly defrauding the IDBI Bank to the extent of Rs 900 crore.

The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Mallya and others on January 24, 2017 which was followed by a request for his extradition on January 31 in the same year. Based on the request, Mallya was arrested by the UK authorities on April 20, 2017.

The spokesperson said that in a complex legal battle, stretching for over three years, the CBI contested the extradition case in the Westminster Magistrate’s Court and the UK High Court of Justice to satisfy the courts on various aspects of extradition and to establish the existence of a prima facia case against Mallya.

The CBI also convinced the courts about the compliance of ECHR norms with regard to prison conditions and human rights. The CBI hailed the painstaking investigation carried out by Additional Superintendent of Police Suman Kumar, who was the investigating officer of the case.

The official also thanked the continuous efforts made by the counsels of Crown Prosecution service in forcefully presenting the Indian government’s case and also the efforts of various government agencies, especially the officials of the Indian High Commission in London, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Prisons Department, Maharashtra government, in coordinating the extradition trial, timely submission of evidences and assurances and prompt follow-up of the case at all stages.

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