~By Dilip Bobb
A judge in the UK hearing the extradition case against fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya has asked for a video of the cell in Arthur Road jail in Mumbai to check the conditions before she agrees to India’s request to send him back to face the music. She was responding to Mallya’s complaint that the cell had no allowances for fresh air or natural light, among other essential requirements. In fact, the gang of fugitives that India wants extradited has devised its own jail manual. Here are their individual demands submitted to the GOI via their lawyers.
Mallya: I love India, I even named my F1 team Force India, but if they are forcing me to go back to India, I must make it clear that as the King of Good Times, I am used to certain privileges which the cell in Arthur Road must have. In my 15 acre countryside mansion near London, I am used to lots of fresh air and natural light. The photos the CBI has sent of the cell reserved in my name, shows it is about as big as the closet in which I keep my designer ties. It needs some remodelling. I can send a team of architects and interior designers, at my cost of course. It needs an en-suite bathroom with gold taps; all my residences and private aircraft had gold taps in the bathroom.
Nirav Modi: My name is Modi. Have you seen that photo of me in Davos with the other Modi? I am behind him, so to speak. It should be framed and hung on the wall of the cell, along with a photo of Priyanka Chopra wearing my creations. How big is this cell they want to put me in anyway? I am used to villas and five-star suites so please ensure that it is large enough. Is there space to park my Bentley?
Jatin Mehta: All this talk of cells and extradition requests is making me and Sonia very nostalgic. Are the Arthur Road authorities aware that I am related to Gautam Adani? St Kitts and Nevis is very nice but one thing we must insist upon is that there should be a laundry next to the cell. We are experts in the art of money laundering and we’d like to keep in practice.
Mehul Choksi: Greetings from Antigua. We have a lovely mansion near the beach and I’d like to inquire whether Arthur Road is near the beach. Also, I should be next to my nephew Nirav, so we can compare notes—next of kin, as they say. One condition I must insist on is that there should be a PNB branch accessible from the Arthur Road premises. I always found them very helpful and accommodating. Their loan department is outstanding, even though I have some outstanding with them.
Vijay Mallya: I forgot to mention, is there a high-end music system in the cell? I was told by the CBI counsel that I needed to return to India to face the music. I like hip-hop and also hop skip and jump. If required, I can order some gold-plated systems available on the market, is there a Cash On Delivery system at Arthur Road? As you can see, I am rather fond of gold. Another small request, I would like my personalised monogram on the entrance to the cell—it is VM1. It is stamped on the doors of my Maybach and Rolls, on the cuffs of my shirts, my cufflinks, on my yacht, my aircraft, you get the picture.
Nirav Modi: I can supply you a list of visitors I shall be expecting, starting with Abhishek Manu Singhvi and his classy wife, some of India’s biggest tycoons who bought diamond pieces from my showroom for their trophy wives, and many other VIPs who banked on me. The list will also include some old banker friends who may require to be frisked before they meet me.
Mehul Choksi: I am a simple man with simple needs. I have no flashy cars or diamond encrusted accessories. I chose Aishwarya Rai as the brand ambassador for Gitanjali gems because she is a simple girl who comes from a simple family, the Bachchans. The only items I coveted were NPAs.
Vijay Mallya: I would like it known that I am a willful returnee and still enjoy privileges given to former members of the Rajya Sabha. That’s one house I enjoyed being in the most, because of the privileges—I was on the parliamentary panel on civil aviation when I owned Kingfisher Airlines. Parliament is all about you scratch my back and I’ll do yours, which reminds me—I will need a back scratcher attached to my bathtub, diamond encrusted and monogrammed, of course.