The Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya who fled to the UK in March 2016, is the most wanted criminals in India for Kingfisher Airlines’ default on loans worth nearly Rs 9,000 crores.
The business tycoon who has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in the UK last April is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.
He arrived at a London court this afternoon for a hearing in his extradition case, during which the judge is expected to review a video of the Mumbai jail cell prepared by the Indian authorities for the embattled liquor tycoon.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss responded to the reporters who were outside the court, saying the “courts will decide”.
“As far as I am concerned, I have made a comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court. I hope the honorable judges will consider it favorably; everybody gets paid off and I guess that’s the primary objective,” said Vijay Mallya.
At the previous hearing in July in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, Judge Emma Arbuthnot had asked Indian authorities to submit a “step by step video” of the Barrack 12 of Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail for “the avoidance of doubt” over the availability of natural light in the cell where the Vijay Mallya is expected to be detained pre-trial, during trial and in the event he is convicted by Indian courts.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, had agreed to the request and the video has since been submitted to the court.
Vijay Mallya’s defence team had demanded an inspection of the jail cell to ensure it meets the UK’s human rights obligations related to extradition proceedings.
The Crown Prosecution Service stressed that the Indian government had provided “adequate material” which rendered the need for an inspection unnecessary, leading to the demand for a video recording to be reviewed by the court.
The judge is also expected to hear the final closing arguments in the case, after which a timeline for her ruling is likely to become clearer.
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 Vijay Mallya.
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.
The Crown Prosecution Service has argued that the evidence they have presented establishes “dishonesty” on the part of the businessman and that there are no bars to him being extradited from the UK to face Indian courts.
Vijay Mallya’s defence team has 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.
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