Hearing in the Vijay Mallya extradition case was adjourned today for want of full evidence from India. The next hearing scheduled to take place on 6 July. On his way out of the courthouse, Mallya again reiterated his innocence saying that unlike as is being claimed, no loans were ever diverted. Mallya, who is wanted in India on loan defaults to several banks, appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court for his extradition case hearing.
“I’m happy that I can put my case before a fair and impartial court in the UK,” Mallya told reporters after coming out of the court.
“I have not alluded any court…I have enough evidence to prove my case,” Mallya had told reporters on his way into the court.
The 61-year-old former liquor baron and chief of erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines has been out on bail since his arrest in April and was in court today, for what is known as a “case management hearing”, to find out the timetable to be set by the judge to hear the arguments for and against his extradition. Earlier, an initial case management hearing date of May 17 had been postponed to June 13.
“When the case returns to court, the District Judge is likely to set down a timetable for the service of any evidence to be submitted by either side in the proceedings, and list a date for a final hearing. There might be a few more hearings in this case in the coming months to deal with case management or any issues that arise, before the final hearing takes place, at which the full arguments from both sides in this case will be heard by the District Judge,” Jasvinder Nakhwal, partner at Peters and Peters Solicitors LLP and member of the UK’s Extradition Lawyers Association, had explained before the hearing.
Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which argued on behalf of the Indian authorities, had met a joint team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in London last month to thrash out details of the case.
“Our aim is to build a strong, infallible case and these meetings will help resolve issues across the table. The CPS will be arguing based on documents provided by CBI and ED, therefore a joint team is here to address queries they may have,” official sources had said after the meeting in May.
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Mallya, who is wanted in India for Kingfisher Airlines’ default on loans worth nearly Rs 9,000 crores, has been in the UK since March 2016 and was arrested by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant on April 18. He had attended a central London police station for his arrest and was released on conditional bail a few hours later, after furnishing a bail bond worth 650,000 pounds, assuring the court of abiding by all conditions associated with extradition proceedings, such as the surrender of his passport and a ban on him possessing any travel documents.
If the District Judge 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.
Although India and the UK have an Extradition Treaty, signed in 1992, so far only one extradition has taken place 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. However, unlike Mallya, he had submitted to the extradition order without legal challenge.