Liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s extradition hearing in London ended with a UK judge asking India for a video of a cell at the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai the fraud-accused liquor tycoon will be housed. The court will take up the high-profile extradition case next in three weeks, on September 12.
Judge Emma Arbouthnot, hearing India’s case for Vijay Mallya’s extradition to face charges of money-laundering and fraud, said she could not go with the photographs of Barrack 12 that Indian officials have provided the court, even as Vijay Mallya complained about “no natural light” or fresh air in Indian jails, according to reports.
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Before the going into the court Mallya said “The allegations of stealing money or money laundering are all completely false. I am in the hands of the court and I hope it will all end.”
The 62-year-old told reporters former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who has been on bail since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India, citing mainly the poor condition of jails. The is charged with fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore.
The judge asked officials to film any man going into the prison, through the door shown in the photographs. “Can we shoot it during mid-day? I want to see some natural light, sunlight, whether the windows pick up any natural light,” the judge said, according to a NDTV report.
Vijay Mallya’s case is being heard in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. At the last hearing in the case on April 27, Judge Arbuthnot had confirmed that the bulk of the evidence submitted by the Indian authorities will be admissible in the case.
If the judge rules in favour of the Indian government, the UK home secretary will have two months to sign Vijay Mallya’s extradition order. Both sides will have the chance to appeal in higher courts in the UK against the Magistrates’ Court verdict, the report said.
Vijay Mallya has been based in the UK since he left India in March 2016 as banks stepped up efforts to recover Rs 9,000 crore in unpaid loans.
Last month, after prolonged silence, Vijay Mallya issued a lengthy media statement labelling the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) charges against him as “untenable and blatantly false”.
He has since lost his appeal in the UK’s Court of Appeal against a High Court order in favour of 13 Indian banks to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion pounds.
While Mallya hoped that the case would get over soon, the Bangalore police through the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on July 5 submitted a report before Delhi’s Patiala House Court stating that they have identified 159 properties of Mallya and United Breweries. The Bangalore police had also sought more time to identify other additional properties.
Earlier on June 30, Mallya was summoned by a designated court under Fugitive Economic Offenders to appear before it on August 27. The notice was issued to Mallya and others in connection with ED’s June 22 application to declare him as a fugitive economic offender and to confiscate his properties.
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