Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, who has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, will return to Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Tuesday for closing arguments in his extradition trial. The judge will set a timeline for a ruling in the high-profile case.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.
“The Senior District Judge (Emma Arbuthnot) will hear final submissions. Judgment will be reserved until a future date (to be arranged),” said a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), representing the Indian authorities in the case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), during the last hearing in the case on April 27, had received a boost in the case as Judge Arbuthnot had 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 UK court, which includes its case of conspiracy against former IDBI Bank Deputy Managing Director BK Batra, who was referred to in court as a new “villain” of sorts in the case.
As per the 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.
Mallya’s defence team, headed by barrister Clare Montgomery, disputed the fraud allegations and submitted further written material from UK-based prisons expert Dr Alan Mitchell, challenging some of the photographs of Barrack 12 of Mumbai Central Prison on Arthur Road, where Mallya is to be held if he is extradited from the UK.
"The photographs are not a true, fair and accurate picture," Montgomery said.
The CPS team, led by barrister Mark Summers, dismissed the additional material as an "attempt to criticise" the information provided by the Indian authorities and reiterated that all concerns regarding natural light and medical provisions at Barrack 12 had been addressed by the Indian authorities.
The extradition trial, which opened at the London court on December 4 last year, is aimed at laying out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya, who has been based in the UK 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 now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines’ alleged default of over Rs 9,000 crores in loans from a consortium of Indian banks.