May 12, 2016

    India fails to secure Mallya's return from Britain


    INDIA has not succeeded in its initial bid to request for the return of debt-strapped tycoon Vijay Mallya from Britain but New Delhi said on Wednesday it will continue to seek his repatriation to face creditors.

    He flew to London two months ago, under pressure from bankers seeking to recover about US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion) owed by his collapsed Kingfisher Airlines.

    India, which has revoked his diplomatic passport, requested on April 28 for him to be deported but now acknowledges there is no immediate prospect this will happen because he has the right to remain in Britain.

    Vikas Swarup, spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, said the British government had told India that Mr Mallya does not require a valid passport as long as it was valid when his leave to remain in the country was granted.

    "At the same time, the UK acknowledges the seriousness of the allegations and is keen to assist Government of India (GoI)," Mr Swarup said in a statement to Reuters.

    "They have asked GoI to consider requesting mutual legal assistance or extradition."

    The 60-year-old Mr Mallya is the subject of a non-bailable warrant issued by a special judge in Mumbai.

    India's Enforcement Directorate, a government agency set up to fight financial crime, has accused his UB Group of using 4.3 billion rupees (S$88 million) of bank loans to Kingfisher to buy property overseas.

    Creditors, led by State Bank of India, have rejected an offer of partial repayment by Mr Mallya, who had given a personal guarantee for the Kingfisher loan.