(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)
By Una Galani
Lenders last year rejected an offer by Mallya to settle his dues for at least 43 cents on the dollar, double the average recovery rate for Indian creditors. The Indian government now appears determined to make an example of the so-called "King of Good Times", who remains a co-owner of the Force India Formula One team and chairman of Mumbai-listed United Breweries , which counts Dutch brewer Heineken as its largest shareholder.
India appears reluctant to extend a lifeline to banks without making a show of taking a hard line on the supposed culprits. The flamboyant Mallya has made himself an obvious target. The extradition process may be long and there is no guarantee it will succeed. But aggressively pursuing the 61-year old helps New Delhi achieve its objective either way.
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- Indian businessman Vijay Mallya was arrested in London on April 18, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
- The 61-year-old tycoon was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities over accusations of fraud and was due to be presented in Westminster Magistrates' Court the same day.
- Indian TV channel ET Now reported that Mallya had already been granted bail, citing an unnamed Mallya lawyer. Reuters could not immediately confirm his status.
- "Extradition hearing in court started today as expected," Mallya said in a message on social network Twitter.
- India had asked Britain to extradite Mallya to face trial after the liquor and aviation tycoon fled there last March after banks sued to recover about $1.4 billion that Indian authorities say is owed by his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
- Mallya has repeatedly dismissed the charges against him.
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(Editing by Peter Thal Larsen and Liam Proud)
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