Vijay Mallya was first served an extradition warrant in April 2017 and has been out on bail since.
Liquor baron Vijay Mallya appeared before the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday to challenge his extradition orders. His lawyers appealed against the orders to extradite him to India in fraud and money laundering charges, saying that the magistrates’ court’s orders had “multiple errors”, according to a report in PTI. Vijay Mallya, who controlled now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is facing charges of laundering Rs 9,000 crore. Vijay Mallya was first served an extradition warrant in April 2017 and has been out on bail since.
Justice Stephen Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing were hearing the appeal. Mallya’s lawyer Clare Montgomery told them that Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot’s verdict to extradite Mallya, issued in December 2018, was flawed. She also said the order questioned the admissibility of some of the witness statements submitted by the Indian government.
She tried to establish that Mallya did not have any fraudulent intentions at the time of seeking bank loans for his airlines. She said he wasn’t a person running a “Ponzi” scheme and was instead a wealthy man who was operating an airlines which ran into losses along with other Indian airlines.
Describing its as a “very dense case”, the lawyer said that the Chief Magistrate did not look at all of the evidence. The PTI report quoted her as saying that had the Chief Magistrate looked at the facts, she would “not have fallen into the multiple errors” in her judgement.
The hearing of the appeal has been scheduled for three days for Mallya’s lawyer to present her arguments, while the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will appear on behalf of the Indian government to counter on Wednesday.
The report further states that a verdict might be delivered at the end of the hearing on Thursday, but the judgment could be scheduled for a later date based on how the hearing process goes.
On Tuesday, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) representatives were in the court while Montgomery presented her arguments. Montgomery again questioned the conduct of CBI while bringing the charges against Mallya while it was being headed by Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who, she said, might be guilty of “misconduct”.
Mallya was given the permission to appeal against the extradition only on the ground that the Indian government’s prima facie case accuses him of fraudulent intentions while acquiring loans from banks. The High Court had accepted all the other conclusions by the Chief Magistrate Arbuthnot.
Judge Arbuthnot had, in December 2018, concluded that evidence clearly pointed towards misapplication of loan funds, accepting the prima facie case of fraud and money laundering against Mallya.