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Vijay Mallya says he’s been turned into the personification of all financial ills in India

The court in UK has dismissed Mallya’s attempt to appeal on the ground that his prosecution in India is politically motivated.

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London: Vijay Mallya, the former billionaire fighting extradition to India on fraud charges, said he’s been turned into “the personification of all of India’s financial ills” and now risks being held in a rat-infested, overcrowded jail cell.

Mallya, who was known as the “King of Good Times” in India, said in court filings for the latest hearing in his extradition battle on Tuesday that he’s been “deliberately set up as the lightning rod of public anger at India’s bad debts” in a process encouraged by leading politicians in the country.

There’s a “real risk” that political pressures “will undermine the fairness of any trial,” he said in court filings for a hearing where he’s seeking permission to appeal the UK’s decision to extradite him.

If sent to India, he’d be held in Barrack 12 of Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail, which has seven or eight people in cells designed for six, he said, citing an Indian lawyer who’s visited the wing. That lawyer said the wing is “unbearably hot in the summer,” doesn’t have enough light for reading and has dust and noise pollution from a large slum area nearby, Mallya argued in his filings. Rats and insects “are visible and have ‘free run in the cells,”’ it said.

The UK and Indian governments weren’t represented at Tuesday’s hearing. The London-based High Commission of India didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Mallya was arrested in London in April 2017 after a consortium of 17 banks accused him of willfully defaulting on more than Rs 91 billion ($1.3 billion) in debt accumulated by his Kingfisher Airlines — a full-service carrier he founded in 2005 and shut down seven years later. A willful defaulter is someone who refuses to repay loans despite having the means to do so.

Lower court judge Emma Arbuthnot largely rejected Mallya’s arguments that the case was politically motivated when she ruled in December that he could be sent to India. –Bloomberg

Also read: Mehul Choksi’s citizenship will be revoked, could be extradited to India: Antigua PM


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