Kingfisher Owner, Vijay Mallya’s Extradition Trial to be Held in UK Today

Business tycoon, Vijay Mallya is set to return to Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London today as his trial is set in motion. The liquor baron was granted bail for a hefty sum of 650,000 pounds soon after his arrest by Scotland Yard over fraudulent affairs and money laundering charges earlier this year. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) set off for the Westminster Court where the trial will unfold. India’s pressing case to bring back the defamed businessman, after he fled India in March 2016 due to his inoperative Kingfisher Airlines owing the Indian banks over Rs. 9,000 crore, will be handled by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of the British Government.

According to PTI, CBI sources confirmed that a team headed by Special Director Rakesh Asthana has left for London and will be attending the trial. During Mallya’s numerous appearances at the London Court over the last few months, he explicitly stated that he had done nothing wrong and presumed the allegations against him to be purely “fabricated”.  New18 stated that the trial will be headed by Chief Magistrate Emma Louise Arbuthnot who mentioned her concerns about prison conditions that were “raised in extraditions to India before”. The trial hearings are slotted for hearings until December 14, with December 6 and 8 being marked as non-sitting days so far. The judgment in his compelling case, however, is not expected until early 2018.

Times Now reported that the judge, if in favor of extradition, the UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd must ensure and instruct the eviction within a period of two months. Nevertheless, extradition might be issued only after a series of court appeals. Mallya, however, responded with a resounding “No” when asked in court if he agreed to be extradited to India based on allegations relating to Kingfisher Airlines.

Sources: News18, Times Now

India sends a formal extradition request for Vijay Mallya

On February 9, 2017 India sent a formal request to the United Kingdom for the extradition of infamous businessman Vijay Mallya. The spokesperson of the foreign ministry, Vikas Swarup confirmed that the extradition request, which was received from Central Bureau of Intelligence, was transferred to the UK High Commission in New Delhi.

Vikas Swaup said,“Today (Thursday), we handed over the request for extradition of Vijay Vittal Mallya which we received from the CBI to the UK High Commission here. We have requested the UK side to extradite him to face trial in India.”

Swarup also asserted that India has a legitimate case against Mallya and if the extradition request is honoured by UK, it will show the sensitivity towards India’s concerns.

The CBI had moved to court in November 2016 to obtain a non bailable warrant against Mallya. Mallya secretly fled to London in March after defaulting loan payments of more than 1 billion dollars to investors and banks and allegedly misusing the funds.

Since he fled, Mallya has refused to appear before courts and investigators. When the courts in India issued warrants against him, Mallya dubbed it as a witch hunt. Last year, the UK refused to deport Mallya and the latest extradition request will be a test of India-UK partnership.

Mallya meanwhile was sacked on February 8 from the Board of United Breweries, the same firm through which he had control of his business empire.

Sourced from Al Jazeera and TOI

Cardiac arrest claims Bofors scandal middleman Quattrocchi’s life

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File picture of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, the middleman in infamous Bofors scandal, who died on 12th July, 2013, citing cardiac arrest in Milan

After nearly 20 years of the revelation of  the Bofors scandal, an interesting turn came to light with the death of  one of its accused, Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, a representative of petrochemical firm, Snamprogetti. Bofors was one of the largest corruption scandals in India, involving politicians like Rajiv Gandhi, dealing with an exorbitant amount of INR640 million (US$11 million),which was exposed through a team of journalists led by N. Ram of The Hindu. The 74-year old businessman died due to a cardiac arrest.

Ottavio Quattrocchi was charged with being the medium in the bribes that were allegedly paid to speed up the Bofors gun deal, signed between the Congress government and now dysfunctional Swedish arms company AB Bofors.

The Bofors chargesheet filed by the CBI  in 1991 named Quattrocchi as one of the accused in a case involving INR64 crore payoffs for supply of Swedish Howitzer guns to the Indian Army in the 90’s. The INR1600 crore contract was executed in 1986.

On March 4th, 2011, Quattrocchi was discharged by the Tis Hazari court for the alleged payoffs after CBI withdrew prosecution charges against him, putting a full stop to a major chapter in the Bofors tale. An application for the withdrawal of the case against Quattrocchi was filed by the public prosecutor on October 3, 2009.

The CBI failed to extradite Quattrocchi to India from Malaysia in 2002 and Argentina in 2007,  due to lack of extradition treaty with these countries.

Defence Minister, AK Anthony said, “The government does not plan to launch any fresh investigation into the Bofors scandal and that Quattrocchi stands as a “free man” as he could not be extradited even after 20 years of registration of the case.”

With the death of one of the key accused in one of the greatest scams of our country, it can be said that the Congress government will close the case. This lets the Congress leave behind their past misdeeds of such an exorbitant amount, which could have been used for the progress of the country instead.

Bofors scandal will remain an epitome of how widespread corruption is in Indian politics, compromising the security of our country. It will always signify the misdeeds of Congress in 1980-90, which will haunt them for times to come.