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Vijay Mallya: Embattled fugitive liquor baron who was once member of parliament and 'King of Good Times' 

Vijay Mallya. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 04, 2019, 10.57 PM (IST)

Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya's extradition to India has been ordered by the United Kingdom. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid Monday ordered Mallya's extradition to India on Monday. 

Accused of conspiracy to defraud banks and money laundering offence, the 63-year-old business tycoon is wanted in India for charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crores.

Mallya is also accused of violating the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).  

Born on December 18, 1955, in Kolkata, Vijay Vittal Mallya is a former Member of Parliament from Karnataka. 

Mallya was born to businessman Vittal Mallya and served as the ex-chairman of United Spirits - the largest spirits company in India. In 1983, at the age of 28, Mallya took over United Breweries Group after his father's death. 

Mallya continues to serve as chairman of United Breweries Group and has been the chairman of several other companies including Sanofi India and Bayer CropScience in India. 

Over the years he consolidated various companies under an umbrella group called the "UB Group". The Kingfisher brand is one of the most prominent ones associated to Mallya's United.

Kingfisher beer makes for over half of market share in India's beer market. 

Mallya set up Kingfisher Airlines in the year 2005. The airlines had to be shut down owing to insolvency. 

Mallya stint with politics was shortlived. He first became a member of the Akhila Bharata Janata Dal and later joined Subramanian Swamy-led Janata Party in 2003. He served as Janata Party national working president until 2010.

Mallya was elected to the Rajya Sabha as an independent member twice from Karnataka. In the year 2002, he went to Rajya Sabha with the support of Janata Dal (Secular) and Indian National Congress. In 2010, Janata Dal (Secular) and the BJP supported him as an independent candidate to become an MP. 

Mallya was often criticised for his extravagant lifestyle and was known as the 'King of Good Times'. His ventures have a timeline of getting embroiled in financial scandals and controversies. 

In 2013, a consortium of Indian banks led by State Bank of India approached United Breweries Holdings Ltd for the payback of a loan amounting to Rs 6,493 crore on behalf of Kingfisher Airlines. 

In 2016, he fled to the United Kingdom. India demanded his extradition in 2017. 

Mallya is on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017 after the Indian authorities brought fraud and money laundering charges amounting to Rs 9,000 crores against the former Kingfisher Airlines boss. 

The former Kingfisher Airlines' boss has earlier indicated that he intends to file an application to appeal against the Westminster Magistrates' Court verdict in favour of his extradition to India.

The businessman had told reporters soon after the ruling by Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot in London in December 2018 that he would consider the verdict in detail and decide his next course of action. His legal team later confirmed that he will seek leave to appeal against the court order, news agency PTI reported. 

While Mallya's legal team had argued in the UK court that the default on the loans sought by the now-defunct airline was the result of the business failure, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had claimed fraudulent intentions by the businessman in seeking and then dispersing those loans.

Judge Arbuthnot, in her ruling delivered on December 10 at the end of a year-long trial, concluded there is a case to answer in the Indian courts over substantial "misrepresentations" by the "flashy billionaire" of his financial dealings.

"There is clear evidence of dispersal and misapplication of the loan funds and I find a prima facie case the Dr Mallya was involved in a conspiracy to launder money," she said.

The judgment had also dismissed the defence team's attempt to challenge the case on human rights grounds by claiming that Barrack 12 of Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where the businessman is to be detained following his extradition, did not meet the requirements. 

The UK court said it was satisfied with the various assurances provided by the Indian government, including a video of the jail cell, which had not only been recently redecorated but was also far larger than the minimum required threshold.

Mallya's extradition to India had been ordered by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on December 9, 2018, after which the home secretary had two months to review and formally approve the extradition.

That deadline would have expired on February 9. Mallya now has 14 days to appeal the home secretary's decision. 

In January 2019, a Mumbai court declared embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya a fugitive economic offender (FEO) on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate.

With the declaration, he became the first businessman to be tagged so under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.

(With inputs from PTI)

Story highlights

Mallya was born to businessman Vittal Mallya and served as the ex-chairman of United Spirits - the largest spirits company in India. In 1983, at the age of 28, Mallya took over United Breweries Group after his father's death.