- Vijay Mallya lost his appeal in UK Supreme Court against extradition to India
- Suman Kumar, CBI Officer put forward a concrete case which made this possible
After a “painstaking and meticulous” investigation and numerous visit to London by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer, Suman Kumar, can bore fruits as the flamboyant businessman Vijay Mallya lost his plea in the UK Supreme Court.
After a 3 years long battle in the bank fraud case, Mallya, the high-flying ex-Chairman of the United Breweries, yesterday lost his application seeking to leave to appeal his extradition to India in the Supreme Court of the UK. A 28 day clock was set on Vijay Mallya for his removal from the UK.
The extradition case revolved around the alleged bank fraud in IDBI Bank of Rs. 900 crore. The liquor baron also faces prob in another case in India which pertains alleged fraud amounting more than Rs. 9,000 crore in a consortium of banks which was led by India’s biggest lender State Bank of India (SBI).
Suman Kumar was assigned the high profile case of Vijay Mallya, who was once a Rajya Sabha member in the Indian Parliament and was known for his lavish lifestyle, as the DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police) of Banking Frauds and Security Cell, Mumbai in 2015’s October.
Now, Kumar is the Additional Superintendent of Police in India’s premier investigation agency, CBI.
Mallya was facing the media heat when his failing aviation firm, Kingfisher Airlines, was going through a rough patch and failing to pay its employees the salaries and retain the premium services to its customers which it had promised against the higher ticket charges, sources told a news agency in India.
They said that for the CBI the situation was very tricky as even though allegations were surfacing of Mallya being a fraud, the lending banks did not file a complaint againt Mallya.
The investigation agency then took matters in its own hands and decided to file the first FIR against Mallya on source-based information relating to the Rs. 900 crore loan fraud. Suman Kumar was then handed over with the responsibility of the probe.
When Suman Kumar joined the CBI he was just 23 years old and worked as a Sub-Inspector (SI) and by then had an impeccable record as an ace investigator on many white-collar crime which even won him the CBI gold medal for the Best Investigating Officer in 2002 which was handed over by the then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh in the year 2004.
Kumar who is now 55 years old is refined in the traditional CBI style of investigation and has also received the Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 2008, the Outstanding Investigator in the year 2013 and the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in the year 2015, the same year when he took over the Vijay Mallya fraud case.
However, the very next year (2016) Vijay Mallya escaped the country causing an embarrassment to the CBI and then triggered a long legal battle in the courts of the United Kingdom to bring him back.
Rakesh Asthana, the then Additional Director, took over the reins of the case as the Chief of the Special Investigation Team and he and Kumar proved to be very important members of the case who continuously made trips to London to make sure that not even a single hearing of the case is missed. They were constantly coordinating with the Crown Prosecution Service which was representing this case in the courts in the UK Capital.
The job of bringing him back was not easy as India had an abysmal record in succeeding in the extradition cases in the European continent, especially in the UK. This case was fought by the Crown Prosecution Service with vigorous support from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Kumar made sure that a compelling and concrete case of fraud was established against Vijay Mallya and a charge sheet was filed in India to make a strong case for his extradition. It was of paramount importance that India had a strong case against Vijay Mallya which was punishable in the law of the UK as well.
Through his long and exhaustive prove, Suman Kumar was able to established fraud and money laundering in his probe for which charge sheets were filed in India. A senior officer said, “We were not contesting a trial there. We had to convince the courts that a prima facie case is made out to justify extradition to India,”.
The findings in the probe which was managed by Kumar achieved a conclusive argument in the support of extradition of Vijay Mallya to India which concluded in the UK High Court denying him to leave to approach the Supre Court to challenge the extradition.
Kumar was lauded by the CBI for his efforts in the case. A spokesperson of the CBI said, “CBI appreciates the painstaking investigation, the hard work and the meticulous efforts of Investigating Officer Suman Kumar, Additional SP, CBI in successfully pursuing investigation and extradition proceedings against the fugitive,”.