LONDON: Embattled tycoon has lodged his appeal in the UK high court against the and decision of the Westminster Magistrate’s Court to extradite him to India to face charges of fraud, and conspiracy to defraud.

On Thursday, a spokeswoman for the administrative court of the high court told TOI: “Vjay Mallya has lodged his application for leave to appeal today.”

Mallya told TOI: “There is nothing to comment about. I stated my intention to appeal earlier.” When asked how long it might take for a decision, he said: “I don’t know the details. My lawyer is travelling.”

“The Prime Minister‘s last speech in Parliament was brought to my attention. He certainly is a very eloquent speaker. I noticed that he referred to an unnamed person who “ran away” with Rs 9,000 crores. Given the media narrative I can only infer that reference is to me,” Mallya said in a tweet.

The spokeswoman in the Administrative Court told TOI: “A decision could take anywhere from two weeks to two months. The court lawyers will now look at it. In some cases the judge decides on paper and in some cases, it will go straight to oral hearing.”

Mallya is applying for permission to appeal the fact that on February 3 home secretary signed the order for his extradition as well as the December 10 decision of chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot to send the decision to the home secretary.

Mallya, 63, took out loans in 2009, now worth approximately Rs 10,000 crore, from a consortium of state-owned Indian banks to prop up his failing , which he has defaulted on.

He is accused of conspiring with executives at Kingfisher Airlines and officials at IDBI Bank to sanction and disburse the loans with the intention of not repaying them, of knowingly supplying false information to IDBI Bank about his airline’s profitability and securities and of not spending the money on what he had been lent it for and of conspiring to launder the money.

Toby Cadman, a London extradition barrister, told TOI: “The appeal will be against both decisions but he can appeal against the judge’s decision before the home secretary decision.”

Cadman, who is representing the government of India in the Arti Dhir extradition case, added: “Whether to grant permission for appeal will be decided on papers first. If refused the defence can ask for an oral hearing. The deciding on papers can be a couple of weeks.”

Mallya or the Indian government can also apply for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s decision if the High Court has certified that the case involves a point of law of general public importance.

Just hours before lodging his appeal, Mallya fired off a series of tweets reiterating that he has offered to pay back the money he owes the banks in the Karnataka High Court. He also tweeted that Prime Minister , in his last address to the Lok Sabha session before the 2019 elections, had “referred to an unnamed person who ran away with 9000 crores.”

“Given the media narrative I can only infer that reference is to me,” he tweeted. “I respectfully ask why the Prime Minister is not instructing his banks to take the money I have put on the table so he can at least claim credit for full recovery of public funds lent to Kingfisher. This cannot be dismissed as frivolous. It is a perfectly tangible, sincere, honest and readily achievable offer. The shoe is on the other foot now. Why don’t the banks take the money lent to KFA?”

In another tweet, he wrote: “I am appalled at the media reports on the claims that I hid my wealth! If there was hidden wealth how could I put approximately 14,000 crores worth of assets openly in front of Court? Shameful misleading of public opinion but unsurprising.”

Mallya had 14 days from February 4, so until 18 February, to seek leave to appeal. But he chose to do it on Valentine’s Day. The same day he tweeted a photo of a ‘King Star’ bar of chocolate from Ooty saying “Bless my friends who brought me my favourite chocolate from my favourite town where I grew up.” When TOI asked him why he liked that bar he said: “Great flavours with different nuts and raisins etc.”


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