The British home secretary Sajid Javid has — as expected — signed off on Vijay Mallya’s extradition to India, the home office confirmed on Monday.
A spokesman said: “On 3 February the Secretary of State, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed the order for Vijay Mallya’s extradition to India.
“Vijay Mallya is accused in India of conspiracy to defraud, making false representations and money laundering offences.”
This is not the end for Mallya so far as his stay in the UK is concerned but possibly the end of the beginning. The businessman, who celebrated his 63rd birthday on December 18, has 14 days to lodge an appeal with the High Court in London — which his lawyers have said he will do.
There was never any chance that Javid, who wants to be seen as a tough home secretary and a contender for the top job in British politics, would go against the judgment delivered in Westminster Magistrates’ Court on December 10 by Emma Arbuthnot, the chief magistrate.
She took 27 minutes to read out bits and pieces from her long and devastating judgment, but got to the heart of it by summarising her findings: “I am ordering extradition — I am referring the matter to the home secretary.”
At the end, the conclusion — paragraph 471 — was what she had said right at the beginning: “In the light of the decisions outlined above I am sending Dr Mallya’s case to the home secretary of state for a decision to be taken on whether to order his extradition.”
Javid had two months to make up his mind but there was never any doubt that he would clear extradition. What happens now depends on whether the High Court in London allows an appeal. Arbuthnot’s judgment was very detailed leaving on the face of it few legal loopholes but no doubt Mallya’s lawyers have gone through it with a fine toothcomb and tried to identify grounds for an appeal.
If an appeal is not allowed, Mallya can take his case to the supreme court.
One thing is pretty sure — whatever happens, he is unlikely to be escorted down the steps of an aircraft in India this side of the general election.