Vijay Mallya was arrested in London today in relation to the ongoing proceedings against him in the money laundering case being pursued by India, the United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service confirmed.
Mallya was immediately granted bail, under UK procedure. This was Mallya’s second arrest in the UK since he fled India. Mallya was earlier arrested in April this year and was immediately released on bail then as well.
Once called the “King of Good Times” due to his extravagant lifestyle, Mallya and his companies have been embroiled in financial scandals, and controversies since 2012. He left India on 2 March 2016 after saying he wanted to move to Britain to be closer to his children. A group of 17 Indian banks are trying to collect approximately INR. 9,000 crore (US$1.4 billion) in loans which Mallya has allegedly routed to gain 100% or a partial stake in about 40 companies across the world. Several agencies including the income tax department and the CBI(central bureau of investigation) are investigating Mallya for charges including financial fraud and money laundering, and the Attorney General said that Mallya’s assets abroad are “far in excess to loans taken by him”.The 17 banks added a joint petition at the supreme court of India in March 2016 to try to prevent Mallya from leaving the country, but the Indian government indicated that he had already left. The enforcement directorate also filed a money laundering case against him in March 2016 for allegedly sending abroad some ₹900 crore (US$140 million) that had been loaned to his airline.
Mallya also co-owns the Formula One team Sahara Force India. His companies own Indian Premier League team Royal Challengers Bangalore, the I-League teams Mohun Bagan A.C. and East Bengal Football Club. He was also a member of the World Motor Sport Council representing India in the FIA, but quit after intervention from the sports ministry. He is also known for having launched Kingfisher Airlines, an airline established as a major business venture in 2005 that later became insolvent and was shut down in 2012. Mallya was also a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India, for his home state Karnataka.
On 18 April 2017, Mallya was arrested by the UK Metropolitan Police extradition unit “on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud”, and he was then released on bail pending further consideration of the case. On 9 May 2017, the Supreme Court of India found Mallya guilty of contempt of court and summoned him to appear on 10 July. When he failed to appear, the Supreme Court said the contempt case could only proceed further after he is produced before the court. Mallya dismissed the proceedings against him – calling the situation a “witch hunt”. He said “I have done absolutely nothing wrong. In fact I am glad that it is finally before a UK court and an impartial court. So we wait and see how it plays out.”In the meantime, he is not allowed to leave Britain, but he said that is no hardship for him. He said “There’s nothing to miss” for him about India, since his immediate family has all moved to England or the United States.