Vijay Mallya, the Kingfisher Airlines Ltd executive arrested in London on Tuesday, will return to UK court next month as authorities attempt to extradite him to face fraud accusations in India.
The 61-year-old former liquor baron surrendered his Indian passport during a London court hearing Tuesday before being released on GBP 650,000 ($830,000) bail, according to court records. He’s scheduled to return for another hearing 17 May.
Mallya’s arrest comes after a special Indian court in June declared the flamboyant former beer baron a proclaimed offender in a case involving loans to his airline. That helped pave the way for banks to take over his properties and auction assets such as his personal private jet, and sought to have him extradited from the UK. A consortium of 17 banks accuses him of wilfully defaulting on more than Rs9,100 crore ($1.4 billion) in debt accumulated by Kingfisher Airlines.
The UK court “will consider” if he can get a fair trial in India, the nation’s former additional solicitor general A.S. Chandhiok said in an interview. “He may say ‘Everything is against me, the media is prejudiced against me,’” to avoid getting extradited, he said.
Mallya left the country a year ago saying he was moving to England to be closer to his children. Lawmakers criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for failing to impound his passport and prevent him from leaving. His airline defaulted on the loans guaranteed by Mallya and United Breweries Holdings Ltd.
Mallya has maintained that Kingfisher was an “unfortunate commercial failure” because of macroeconomic factors and government policies. He has sparred with local media for portraying him as the poster boy for the nation’s bad loans. He has said that government agencies “are pursuing a heavily biased investigation and are already holding me guilty without trial after which I need to prove my innocence.”