The service tax department’s application to extradite promoter of defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd Vijay Mallya from the UK and former CEO of the airline Sanjay Aggarwal from the US has been accepted by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Mumbai.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravi Jadhav granted the plea of the department to bring Mallya, who is in London, and Aggarwal, who is in the US, to India for questioning, using extradition treaties India has with the UK and the US, respectively.
“These treaties, meant for the extradition of fugitives, are applied to the case of Mallya and Aggarwal, given their tendency to evade the law of the land, seen in conjunction with Section 105 B of the Criminal Procedure Code,” said special counsel Advait Sethna who has appeared for the service tax department along with counsel Ruju Thakkar, while confirming the development.
The service tax department argued that Mallya and Aggarwal had been evading the law and had not come before the courts despite several orders summoning them.
The revenue department had approached the court in a case to recover dues worth Rs 115 crore including interests. According to a senior tax official, the airline—which stopped operations in October 2012—allegedly did not deposit the service tax collected on ticket sales with the department and diverted the money for other purposes.
Earlier, in late 2014, the revenue department had claimed the first right to recover dues by attaching Kingfisher House in Mumbai, six aircraft and two helicopters, besides freezing bank accounts of the defunct airline.
Also, a consortium of 17 banks led by State Bank of India approached the Supreme Court to recover around Rs 9,500 crore from the airline and its promoter.
Last month, Mallya said the Indian authorities had no ground to extradite him and he would not be leaving the UK.
However, the road to bring the erstwhile liquor baron to India is still long. Under the extradition process, the Indian government, through the external affairs ministry, will have to move the Magistrates’ Court (England and Wales), requesting the extradition of Mallya upon which he will have to make himself available before the UK court and contest the request of extradition based on legally valid reasons.
The proceedings require the Indian government to demonstrate to the UK court that a prima facie case is made out for Mallya to be extradited and that his physical presence is required for investigation into the charges against him.
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