As CBI, ED arrive in London for extradition trial, Vijay Mallya reiterates: ‘I have done nothing wrong; have not escaped from India’

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Embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya, out on a £6,50,000 bail bond following his arrest by Scotland Yard over fraud and money laundering charges earlier this year, reiterated to media persons that the charges against him were baseless, false and fabricated.

“I have said repeatedly that the charges are false, fabricated and baseless. I have nothing to say, submissions in court will be self evident,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“I have not escaped from India. I have been living in England since 1992,” he was seen telling reporters ahead of the extradition hearing in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.

Meanwhile, according to reports, the hearing was delayed after a fire alarm in the court prompted evacuation of the premises.

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya at his extradition hearing in London on Monday. AP

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya at his extradition hearing in London on Monday. AP

The 61-year-old businessman, who has been in self-imposed exile in the UK since March 2016 when he left India, is wanted in India on charges relating to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines defaulting on loans from various Indian banks amounting to Rs 9,000 crore.

The former Rajya Sabha member has told PTI during his numerous court appearances in London over the last few months that he has “done nothing wrong” and described the allegations against him as “fabricated”.

His defence team, led by barrister Clare Montgomery known as an expert in criminal and fraud law with the UK s Matrix Chambers, will now present his case in court.

“We are keen to draw a line under all the material evidential and non-evidential,” she had said during the last case management hearing on 20 November, when Mallya’s defence team presented a running order of expert witnesses to be deposed in the case.

The trial is set to open with opening arguments, followed by the witness statement of B Humphreys, who is an aviation expert.

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 Alan Mitchell, a licensed medical practitioner and a former medical officer with the Scottish prison system.

It was Mitchell’s testimony that had a major impact on another Indian extradition request in October, that of alleged bookie Sanjeev Chawla a key accused in the cricket match – fixing scandal involving former South African captain Hanse Cronje in 2000.

The flamboyant businessman has been out on bail on an extradition warrant executed by the Metropolitan Police earlier this year.

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is arguing the case against Mallya on behalf of the Indian authorities.

The fraud charges relate to Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owing more than Rs 9,000 crore to various Indian banks.

The UB Group chief has been on self-imposed exile in the UK since he left India on 2 March 2016.

The money laundering charges had been filed in India on 14 June and submitted as an evidence affidavit for the extradition case in the UK at the end of September.

Judge, Chief Magistrate Emma Louise Arbuthnot, agreed to formally re-open a fresh case while keeping to the same time- table as set before.

Arbuthnot has been hearing Mallya’s extradition case at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on his arrest warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April.

If she rules in favour of extradition at the end of the trial, the UK home secretary must order Mallya s extradition within two months of the appropriate day.

However, the case can go through a series of appeals before arriving at a conclusion.

India and the UK have an Extradition Treaty, signed in 1992, but so far only one extradition has taken place from the UK to India under the arrangement — Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, who was sent back to India last October to face trial in connection with his involvement in the post-Godhra riots of 2002.

Mallya has been based at his Hertfordshire estate called Ladywalk in the village of Tewin, around 30 miles from London.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published Date: Dec 04, 2017 04:57 pm | Updated Date: Dec 04, 2017 04:57 pm

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