London: In a reprieve for Vijay Mallya, the UK high court on Tuesday granted the embattled liquor tycoon permission to appeal against the extradition order of a lower court to face alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to Rs 9,000 crores in India.
A two-member bench at the Royal Courts of Justice here, comprising Justices George Leggatt and Andrew Popplewell, ruled that “arguments can be reasonably made” on some aspects of the prima facie case ruling by chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot in her extradition order of December 2018, which was signed off by UK home secretary Sajid Javid earlier this year.
“By far the most substantial ground is that the senior district judge was wrong to conclude that the government had established a prima facie case,” said Judge Leggatt, as he read out the ruling at the end of the hearing.
“We have been persuaded that the first ground of appeal is reasonably arguable,” he noted.
The first ground revolved around Mr Mallya’s counsel Clare Montgomery questioning the basis on which Judge Arbuthnot had arrived at certain conclusions.
She claimed she had been “plain wrong” in accepting some of the Indian authorities' assertions that Mr Mallya had fraudulent intentions when he sought some of the loans for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, that he made misrepresentations to the banks to seek the loans and had no intentions to pay them back.
Ms Montgomery questioned the admissibility of some of the evidence produced by the Indian government during the extradition trial.