It’s My Right to Vote But Cannot Travel, Vijay Mallya Says Ahead of Karnataka Polls

Vijay Mallya said that he has not been following Indian politics closely.


Ahead of the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections, liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya said that although it is his right to vote, he cannot travel out of the United Kingdom. Mallya was back in a UK court on April 27 for a hearing in connection to his extradition trial.

“It is my democratic right to vote in Karnataka but as you know I am here and cannot travel. I haven’t been following the politics so closely so no opinion,” Mallya said, ANI reported.

Speaking about the Karnataka polls to be held next month, Mallya said that he once represented the state, which happens to be his home state, as a parliamentarian, NDTV reported. “I had the proud privilege of representing Karnataka but I am far removed now,” added Mallya. Karnataka is set to go to polls on May 12, where representatives to the 225-member state Assembly will be elected. Mallya was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2002 as an independent member from Karnataka.

Meanwhile, his lawyer Ben Watson, asked the court for some more time as well as a new date in July, so that he can assess the Indian government’s submissions, News 18 reported.

Emma Arbuthnot, the Chief Magistrate of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, is set to take into consideration some additional material required from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is representing the Indian government. She is also set to hear closing arguments as well as schedule a timeline for the verdict in the case, being expected by May, the report added.

“It’s another day; we will know in court what happened,” Mallya said when asked about the trial, ANI reported. If the judge rules in favor of the Indian government, the UK home secretary will then have a span of two months to sign Mallya’s extradition order. Both sides, however, will get the opportunity to appeal in higher courts against the verdict of the Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom.

While presiding over the extradition hearing of Mallya at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on March 16, judge Arbuthnot said that there are clear signs that banks went against their own guidelines while sanctioning some loans to Mallya. She had described the case as a “jigsaw puzzle” comprising different pieces of “massive evidence” to be put together to paint a picture, which she said she could now see “more clearly” than a few months ago.

Meanwhile, a luxury superyacht worth $93 million owned by Mallya was seized by authorities in Malta on March 6 over his failure to pay more than $1 million in wages to the crew. Mallya had reportedly abandoned the 95-meter vessel after his arrest in the United Kingdom on an extradition warrant. Mallya fled from India to the United Kingdom in 2016, and his extradition is being sought by the Indian government over unpaid dues worth over Rs 9,000 crore that his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines allegedly owes to a consortium of 17 Indian banks.

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