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Vijay Mallya can be considered 'fugitive from justice': UK High Court

Vijay Mallya can be considered 'fugitive from justice': UK High Court

Judge Andrew Henshaw refused on Tuesday to overturn a worldwide order freezing Vijay Mallya's assets and upheld an Indian court's ruling that a consortium of 13 Indian banks were entitled to recover funds from him.

Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya last night lost a lawsuit filed by Indian banks in the UK High Court seeking to collect from him over 1 (point) 55 billion USA dollars.

"Following the decision today, the banks are now considering the enforcement options available to them to recover the sums due from Dr Mallya under the DRT judgment, which is now enforceable in England and Wales as if it were a judgment given by the English courts".

Mallya was arrested in London 18 April on a warrant issued by Indian authorities accusing him of conspiring to defraud India's IDBI Bank through a Rs9,100 crore ($1.4 billion) loan to Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, which he founded in 2005 and shut down seven years later.

"In all these circumstances, and even taking account of the fact that Dr Mallya is contesting the alleged grounds for extradition, there are grounds for regarding Dr Mallya as a fugitive from justice", the judge said as part of his ruling. The freeze order restrained Mallya and his companies from removing any of their assets in the jurisdiction up to a limit of £1,140-million and in any way disposing of, dealing with or diminishing the value of any of their assets whether they are inside or outside the jurisdiction up to the same value. Here, it is worth mentioning that Indian banks got a freeze order against Vijay Mallya from United Kingdom high court on November 24, 2017.

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"There is a risk of the value of Mallya's assets deteriorating, and, or, being subject to claims by other creditors, and a risk of Mallya being declared bankrupt", said Henshaw.

The law firm that represented Indian banks in the case described the ruling as significant.

Meanwhile, Mallya remains on a 650,000-pound bail bond since his arrest on an extradition warrant by Scotland Yard in April a year ago. That judgment states that owes the banks more than Rs 9,000 crore.

The litigation listed 13 banks, including the State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank Ltd., IDBI Bank Ltd., Indian Overseas Bank, as applicants. Now, he has little choice but to directly petition the UK's Court of Appeal, which is second only to the country's Supreme Court.

The prosecution, which was representing the banks, successfully argued that Mallya "willfully defaulted" on the loans in spite of his considerable financial resources.

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