Vijay Mallya extradition case: Defence says 'no evidence' to support case of fraud against liquor baronThe extradition hearing of beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in central London entered the second day on Tuesday.
The extradition hearing of beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in central London entered the second day on Tuesday.
On the first day of hearing, the prosecution put forth arguments stating that the actions of Mallya are not that of an honest person.
The extradition trial of Vijay Mallya, wanted in India on charges of Rs 9,000 crores fraud and money laundering, began with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, presenting its opening arguments in the case which focused on loans totalling around Rs 2,000 crores sought by the erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines from a consortium of Indian banks.
The CPS admitted that there may have been "irregularities" in the internal processes of the banks sanctioning some of those loans but that would be a question to be dealt with at a later stage in India.
Here are the LIVE updates of Day 2 of Vijay Mallya’s extradition hearing:
08:57 pm: Hearing concludes for Tuesday. Next hearing adjourned till Thursday.
06:17 pm: Mallya’s lawyer says it is no fraud to pay processing fees to IDBI out of the same loan it gave to Kingfisher.
06:08 pm: Montgomery now refuting India’s charge of Mallya playing ‘round robin’ - using loan from one bank to pay off another in a different bank. All disbursement from bank loans were for the company’s benefit and within their remit, she adds.
06:02 pm: Nothing to suggest corporate and personal guarantees by Mallya and Kingfisher to secure bank loans were deliberately fraudulent, as alleged by India, Montgomery submits in the court of Emma Arbuthnot.
06:00 pm: Vijay Mallya's defence team argues that there is no evidence to support the case of fraud presented against him by the government of India
On the first day, Mallya's barrister, Clare Montgomery, told the judge that she had hoped to set out the defence's opening arguments on the first day as well.
But the CPS said it will "not be rushed" as it lays out the complete chronology of events.
Meanwhile, Mallya watched the proceedings from behind a glass-windowed dock.
His defence team tried to get the judge to allow him to sit outside the dock near his defence team to access some of the complicated paperwork being relied upon, but the judge denied that request saying all defendants are expected to sit in the dock.
However, the judge has directed that a table be provided to Mallya for easier access to his paperwork.
Earlier, Mallya looked relaxed when he entered the court to stand trial on charges of fraud and money laundering related to his erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines owing several Indian banks around Rs 9,000 crores.
"These (allegations against me) are false, fabricated and baseless," Mallya told reporters outside the court ahead of the hearing.
A four-member CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) team from India had also arrived at the court ahead of the trial, one of whom nodded when asked he they were "confident" about their case.
Mallya, who has been out on bail since Scotland Yard executed an extradition warrant in April this year, will be in the dock for the duration of the trial - scheduled to end on December 14.
A judgement in the case, being presided over by Judge Emma Louise Arbuthnot, is unlikely until early next year.
The CPS will need to demonstrate a prima facie case by producing evidence to show that the criminal charges against Mallya are justified and that he should be extradited to face the Indian courts.
Prison conditions in India are expected to be at the forefront during the hearing, with the Indian government providing assurances of protection of Mallya's human rights.
The tycoon has been on self-imposed exile in the UK since he left India on March 2, 2016.
While on strict bail conditions, which include providing a bail bond worth 650,000 pounds, surrender of his passport and a ban on possessing any travel documents, the former Rajya Sabha member has been based at his Hertfordshire estate Ladywalk in the village of Tewin, nearly 50-km from London.
The CPS had presented "supplemental" charges of money laundering to previous charges of fraud against the businessman at an earlier hearing in October.
The judge had agreed to effectively re-open a fresh case so that all charges can be heard concurrently in court.
If the judge rules in favour of extradition at the end of the trial, the UK home secretary must order Mallya's extradition within two months.
However, the case can go through a series of appeals in higher UK courts before arriving at a conclusion.
Judge Arbuthnot and her colleague, Rebecca Crane, at Westminster Magistrates' Court have recently rejected two other long-pending extradition requests from India.