Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya arrested in London

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI - Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, who has been pursued by authorities over unpaid loans tied to his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, was arrested in London on Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Mallya, 61, was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud and will be presented in Westminster Magistrates Court later on Tuesday, the statement added.

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 US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion) that Indian authorities say Kingfisher owes.

Mallya has repeatedly dismissed the charges against him and defended himself in messages from his personal account on social media network Twitter.

An India-based spokesman for Mallya's UB Group did not comment immediately.

Indian television channel CNN News18 reported that Mallya was arrested by Scotland Yard and a team of Indian law enforcement officials would visit London to begin work on his extradition.

India's foreign ministry and its federal police, the Central Bureau of Investigation, were not immediately available for comment.