Mallya may return to India voluntarily even though he faces jail

Several Indian press reports suggest that Vijay Mallya, the fugitive former head of United Spirits, is attempting to broker a deal to return to the country voluntarily.

Vijay MallyaMallya, who is wanted to face charges of fraud and money laundering plus contempt of the country’s Supreme Court, fled to the UK in March 2016. He is alleged to owe a consortium of banks £1.15 billion in the wake of the collapse of his Kingfisher Airlines in 2012.

Mallya has been fighting extradition to India for almost a year with the latest hearing in the case set for July 31. It is expected that Westminster Magistrates Court will issue a ruling soon after that.

Indian legal sources quoted by local media say that Mallya has approached the Enforcement Directorate (ED) about returning, but that he has received no guarantees as to what will happen to him. He will still face trial but will seek to argue that the airline’s demise was a business failure and that his actions previously were attempts to save it.

If he is extradited, it is probable that he would spend some time in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail while court hearings proceed. Mallya’s legal team have raise doubts about conditions in the jail and the treatment he would receive.

It is suggested, however, that if Mallya returns voluntarily, although he would be arrested as he landed, he would spend only a few days in jail before being granted bail.

Mallya argues that the charges he faces are trumped up and politically motivated, but he has filed a 500-page application to the Karnatak High Court detailing assets he claims would be ample to repay his creditors.

Mallya is quoted by The Times of India today as saying: “I don’t want to comment on anything. It’s ridiculous… all these breaking news stories in India. I have not heard anything of the sort, but even if I do I am not going to comment on anything. The media creates questions and they need to answer them.”

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