Fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya arrived at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London for his extradition trial which began today. The 61-year-old businessman, who left India in March 2016, is out on a 650,000-pound bail bond following his arrest on money laundering charges. Mallya was put under procedural arrest by Scotland Yard on October 3.
CBI has reportedly submitted a 2,000-page dossier giving details on how Mallya swindled loans taken for Kingfisher Airlines over the years. "These are all false, fabricated charges," Mallya told reporters in London when he was asked about CBI and ED charge-sheets.
Answering a question on why he went to England, Mallya said, "Returning to England where I have lived since 1992 is not an escape." Former liquor baron Vijay Mallya will be represented by defence lawyer Clare Montgomery in the UK Court.
16:55 pm: Mark Summers, the lawyer for Crown Prosecution Service, says Vijay Mallya misled banks in India.
15:56 pm: Mallya's extradition hearing delayed as fire alarm goes off on the court premises
15:50 pm: London Court evacuated after fire alarm goes off
15:00 pm: Vijay Mallya arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.
Others expected to give their statements for the defence include Margaret Sweeney, chief accountant at Force India Formula One racing team, Professor Lau as an expert on the Indian legal system, and Dr Alan Mitchell, a licensed medical practitioner and a former medical officer with the Scottish prison system. Vijay Mallya is also the co-owner of the Force India Formula One team.
The extradition trial itself, to be presided over by Judge Arbuthnot, is listed for hearings until December 14, with December 6 and 8 so far marked as non-sitting days. A judgement in the case is not expected until early next year.
If the judge rules in favour of extradition at the end of the trial, UK home secretary Amber Rudd must order Mallya's extradition within two months. However, the case can go through a series of court appeals before the actual extradition order can be issued.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) had earlier stated that they have a watertight case case against Mallya. Indian authorities have filed two separate charge-sheets in the UK over Mallya's alleged money laundering - one by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the other by the Enforcement Directorate.
Mallya owes Indian banks Rs 6,963 crore (Rs Rs 9,091 crore with interest) and is wanted in India for cases relating to foreign exchange violation, debt recovery and embezzlement.
Mallya fled to Britain in March 2016 after being pursued for recovery of Rs 9,091 crore owed to a consortium of 17 Indian banks by his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Mallya was earlier arrested and granted bail in London on April 18 by the Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant.When extradited, fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya will be lodged in a high-security cell in Barrack number 12 of Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, the government had earlier conveyed this to the UK Crown Prosecution Services.