U.K. Court Asks India To Submit Video Of Mumbai Jail
A U.K. court today asked the Indian authorities to submit a video of a cell at the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai where they plan to keep Vijay Mallya after extradition, as it set Sept. 12 date for closing arguments in his high-profile extradition trial.
Mallya, wanted in India on fraud charges, appeared before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London where both defence and prosecution presented clarifications on Barrack 12 at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where Mallya is to be held after extradition.
After hearing the arguments, Judge Emma Arbuthnot asked the Indian authorities to submit within three weeks a video of the Barrack 12 of the Arthur Road Jail.
The Judge set the next hearing, for closing submissions, on Sept. 12 and extended Mallya’s bail until then.
Earlier, Mallya had said the allegations of money laundering and stealing money against him were “completely false.” However, today he told reporters outside the court that its the court’s decision at the end of the day.
Also read: Vijay Mallya Eyeing India Return?
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore.
At the last hearing in the case on April 27, the Central Bureau of Investigation had received a boost in the case as Judge Arbuthnot confirmed that the bulk of the evidence submitted by the Indian authorities will be admissible in the case.
The CBI had submitted a detailed set of documents to the U.K. court, which included a case of conspiracy against former IDBI Bank Deputy Managing Director BK Batra, who was referred to in court as a new ‘villain’ in the case.
According to Indian authorities’ case of conspiracy, Batra reportedly colluded with Mallya in sanctioning some of the loans to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines without following due diligence procedures.
In separate extradition proceedings, if the judge rules in favour of the Indian government, the U.K. home secretary will have two months to sign Mallya’s extradition order. However, both sides will have the chance to appeal in higher courts in the U.K. against the Magistrates’ Court verdict.
Mallya’s defence team, headed by barrister Clare Montgomery, disputed the fraud allegations and also submitted further written material from the U.K.-based prisons expert Alan Mitchell, challenging some of the photographs of Barack 12 of Mumbai Central Prison on Arthur Road, where Mallya is to be held if he is extradited from the U.K.
The Crown Prosecution Service team, led by barrister Mark Summers, dismissed the additional material as an “attempt to criticise” the information provided by the Indian authorities.
The extradition trial, which opened at the London court on Dec. 4 last year, is aimed at laying out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya, who has been based in the U.K. since he left India in March 2016. It also seeks to prove there are no ‘bars to extradition’ and that the tycoon is assured a fair trial in India over his Kingfisher Airlines’ alleged default of over Rs 9,000 crore in loans from a consortium of Indian banks.
The CPS has argued that the evidence they have presented establishes ‘dishonesty’ on part of the businessman and that there are no bars to him being extradited from the U.K. to face Indian courts.
Mallya’s defence team deposed a series of expert witnesses to claim he had no “fraudulent” intentions and that he is unlikely to get a fair trial in India.
Last month, after a prolonged period of silence, Mallya had issued a lengthy media statement, labelling the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate charges against him as ‘untenable and blatantly false.’
He has since lost his appeal in the U.K.’s Court of Appeal against a high court order in favour of 13 Indian banks to recover funds amounting to nearly £1.145 billion.
The high court order in favour of the State Bank of India-led consortium had reinforced a worldwide freezing order against Mallya’s assets.
It was followed by a related enforcement order last month granting permission to the U.K. High Court Enforcement Officer to enter Mallya’s properties in Hertfordshire, near London, where he is based.
Mallya has since said he has handed over a full statement of his U.K. assets to the court and there was no question of use of force to enter his home, Ladywalk, in the village of Tewin in England.