The extradition of businessman Vijay Mallya to face charges of major financial offences neared on Thursday after the high court of England and Wales refused him permission to appeal in the UK Supreme Court on the ground that his case does not involve a ‘point of law of general public importance’.
The development marks one of the last stages of Mallya’s long-drawn extradition process that began with his arrest in London in April 2017. The high court decision means that the extradition will need to be carried out within 28 days as set out in the Extradition Act, 2003.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) acting on India’s behalf said Mallya was refused permission on all his three points: to hear oral submissions, to grant a certificate on the questions as drafted by his defence team, and to grant permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The decision of judges Stephen Irwin and Elisabeth Laing was based ‘on papers’ presented, not in an open court based on oral hearings, and communicated by email to CPS and Mallya’s defence team.
Officials said that if the pronouncement were being made in an open court it would have been: “The Court having signified its intention to refuse to certify a point of law of general public importance with a view to an appeal to the Supreme Court, the case has been listed for pronouncement, without attendance of the parties, as this has the effect of fixing the start date of the ‘required period’, as defined by section 36 and section 118 of the Extradition Act 2003, within which the extradition must be carried out”.
Mallya has the option of approaching the European Court of Human Rights on the ground that his human rights would be at risk if extradited, but the CPS said “the removal process however can continue until such time as it is stayed by the ECHR”. The UK remains subject to the jurisdiction of ECHR until the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
Nick Vamos, former head of extraditions at CPS, said: “Mallya can renew his appeal on human rights grounds if the circumstances change, for example if his health significantly worsened. He can also appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, although there is no guarantee that it will hear his case”.
“Both of these options are long shots and neither of them stops the Indian and UK authorities from now making the practical arrangements to surrender Mallya into Indian custody as soon as possible. I imagine the flight schedule is already being agreed”.
Mallya reiterated on Thursday his offer to repay the loans his company Kingfisher airlines had taken from banks, and close the case. He tweeted: “Congratulations to the Government for a Covid 19 relief package.”
“They can print as much currency as they want BUT should a small contributor like me who offers 100% payback of State owned Banks be constantly ignored? Please take my money unconditionally and close”.