The Westminster Magistrates' Court has reserved its decision over extradition of Vijay Mallya to India for December 10. The bench of Judge Emma Arbuthnot heard the closing arguments in the extradition proceedings as well as reviewed the prison cell which has been prepared for the embattled business tycoon in Mumbai's Arthur Road jail.
Defending his case, Mallya's lawyer Clare Montgomery argued that the Indian government has failed to provide any substantial evidence to form a 'prima facie' case of fraud against him, justifying his extradition, said a Reuters report. Mallya is wanted in India for alleged loan default and money laundering worth over Rs 9,000 crore.
Montgomery said that the evidence she and the Indian government have provided showed that Kingfisher Airlines had been clear about what the loans were for - to secure the airline's viable future - and that it had been open about its losses. The Indian government has contested that the loans had been taken from a consortium of banks on false pretences and on the basis of misleading securities. Indian authorities have maintained that Mallya has no intention of repaying his loans.
The British court also reportedly reviewed the 'step by step' video of Barrack 12 of Arthur Road jail to ascertain that it meets the UK's human rights obligations regarding extradition proceedings. This cell is meant to hold Mallya before and during his trial in Indian courts, and incarcerate him in the event of his conviction. In earlier hearings, Mallya's defence team had mentioned that the living conditions of Indian prisons could adversely affect the health of the 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss.
Later he clarified that it was no formal meeting, and the entire fiasco was a media-created controversy. Talking to ANI, Mallya said that he met Jaitley in the Parliament and the Rajya Sabha, which he attended as a Member of Parliament, and expressed his intention to settle his dues.
Jaitley, in his response to Mallya's statement, has already clarified that there was no formal interaction between the two. I curtly told him 'there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers', Jaitley said in a Facebook post following Mallya's statement.
Edited by Vivek Punj