The CBI today “categorically affirmed” that there was no delay in providing to British authorities evidence against liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is facing an extradition case in London. The agency came out with a statement after reports that Crown Prosecution Service, which is representing India’s case of Mallya’s extradition, told a London court that it will require three-four weeks time to receive evidence from India. The agency tried to defend itself by giving a detailed timeline of events leading to June 13 hearing where reported comments were made by Aaron Watkins of the Crown Prosecution Service.
“During the hearing on June 13, 2017, when the counsel of fugitive Mallya sought a date in March-April, 2018, Aaron Watkins of CPS opposed the same. To justify a later date, the defence counsel raised the issue of delay, which is nothing but a figment of his imagination,” CBI Spokesperson R K Gaur said here today.
He said the hearing of June 13 was not an “extradition hearing” and its purpose was to determine further steps to be taken up in the case and to draw a timetable for extradition proceedings. “The Specialist Prosecutor of CPS confirmed that during the proceedings on June 13 there was no criticism of the extradition request or of the Indian government. Senior district judge fixed next case management hearing on 6 July, 2017 when the dates for the extradition hearing will be decided,” he said.
According to reports, Watkins told the court that Crown Prosecution Service required additional three-four weeks time to receive evidence from India. On this statement, the reports quoted chief magistrate at the Westminster magistrates’ court Emma Arbuthnot as saying, “Are Indians normally very prompt in their responses? They have taken six months so far and we haven’t got any further forward in the past six weeks?”
Gaur said the charge sheet against Mallya was filed on January 24 before the Special Judge for the CBI cases, Mumbai which issued a non-bailable warrant of arrest on January 31. He said as the fugitive Mallya has been in London since March 2016, the request for extradition of Mallya was forwarded on February 9 to the UK authorities through diplomatic channels.
“The extradition dossier contained details of evidence including the charge sheet filed under section 173 CrPC along with relied upon documents and non-bailable warrant of arrest,” he said. On April 18, the Crown Prosecution Service sought a meeting with the officials of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate following which a team led by Additional Director CBI Rakesh Asthana visited London on May 2 and 3.
The team provided all the additional documents sought and also answered the queries raised, he said. The agency in the meanwhile filed a supplementary charge sheet in a special court in Mumbai. The charge sheet along with additional evidence were sent to the UK authorities on June 9, Gaur said.
“All the evidence regarding falsities, mis-statements and false representations of Vijay Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines Limited (KAL) and officials of KAL had already been forwarded to authorities of the UK,” he said. Gaur said in some sections of media it is also reported that there was a delay of six months. “Hence, it is hereby categorically affirmed that there was no delay whatsoever,” he said.