London: Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya claimed yesterday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement in a recent interview confirming the recovery of Rs 14,000 crores worth of his assets has fully vindicated him in his assertion of being a "poster boy" for the BJP-led government.
In his characteristic style of issuing statements through social media, the 62-year-old asserted that by Modi's own assertion the recovery of assets was higher than the alleged Rs 9,000 crores he faces extradition to India on fraud and money laundering charges.
"I humbly submit that my assertion that I am a poster boy is fully vindicated by the PM's own statement about me that his government has recovered more than what I allegedly owe the banks," Mallya said in his latest Twitter outburst.
"Fact that I have been a UK resident since 1992 ignored. Suits the BJP to say I ran away, he notes.
Mallya's latest social media intervention follows a recent interview in which Prime Minister Modi said that recovering an amount more than what Mallya defrauded was a big win for India.
"You must've seen in the case of Vijay Mallya. He owed banks Rs 9,000 crores but the government has confiscated his properties worth Rs 14,000 crore from across the world. Now, he is in trouble because we are taking double the amount," Modi had said.
In reference to the comments, Mallya noted: "Saw PM Modi's interview in which he takes my name and says that even though I owe Rs 9,000 crores to Banks, his Govt has attached my assets worth Rs 14,000 crores. So the highest authority has confirmed full recovery. Why do BJP spokesmen continue their rhetoric?"
The former Kingfisher Airlines boss, accused of defrauding Indian banks, has filed an application seeking permission to appeal against his extradition order signed off by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid last month. A UK judiciary spokesperson confirmed last week that all the papers have been received and are now awaiting allocation to a single High Court judge who will decide, on the basis of those papers, if permission is given to go to a full hearing.
If the application is accepted, the case will proceed to a "substantive hearing" in the next few months' time. In the event that Mallya's application is rejected at this stage, he will have the option to submit for a "renewal".
The renewal process will lead to a 30-minute oral hearing during which Mallya's legal team and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the Indian government will renew their respective claims for and against an appeal for a judge to determine if it can proceed to a full hearing.
Meanwhile, Mallya remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017.
At the end of a year-long extradition trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London last December, Judge Emma Arbuthnot had ruled that the "flashy" billionaire had a "case to answer" in the Indian courts.
The court had also dismissed any bars to extradition on the grounds of the prison conditions under which the businessman would be held, as the judge accepted the Indian government's assurances that he would receive all necessary medical care at Barrack 12 in Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail.
Incidentally, the jail was back in reference at the UK court this week as the likely holding cell for fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, whose extradition case is also being presided over by Judge Arbuthnot.