The Westminster Magistrates' Court in London will decide on December 10 if fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya will be extradited to India to face trial on charges of fraud and money-laundering amounting to around Rs. 9,000 crore. On Wednesday, the court reviewed a video of the cell in a Mumbai jail where he might be lodged once he is deported.
While hearing India’s appeal for Mallya’s deportation to India, the judge had asked for the video to see if the condition of Indian jails meets the standards of Europe's Human Rights Commission.
Mallya had argued that Indian cells do not have proper air ventilation and light. The 62-year-old former boss of now-grounded Kingfisher Airline is wanted in India for defaulting loans of state-run banks worth around 9,000 crore.
Earlier in the day, Mallya claimed that he had met the finance minister before leaving India to settle matters.
"I met the finance minister to settle matters before I left. The banks had filed objections to my settlement letters," news agency ANI quoted Mallya as saying outside the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.
Arun Jaitley was the Union finance minister when Mallya left in 2016. He is also the current finance minister.
Jaitley, however, rubbished Mallya's statement, saying he never gave him an appointment since 2014 but the fugitive liquor baron misused his position as Rajya Sabha MP to accost him in Parliament.
In a Facebook blog, Jaitley said Mallya's statement was "factually false" and "does not reflect truth".
"Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise," he wrote.
But Mallya being a Member of Rajya Sabha, occasionally attended the House.
"He misused that privilege on one occasion while I was walking out of the House to go to my room. He paced up to catch up with me and while walking uttered a sentence that 'I am making an offer of settlement'.
"Having been fully briefed about his earlier 'bluff offers', without allowing him to proceed with the conversation, I curtly told him 'there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers'," Jaitley said.
The finance minister said he did not even "receive" the papers that he was holding in his hand.
"Besides this one sentence exchange where he misused his privilege as a Rajya Sabha Member, in order to further his commercial interest as a bank debtor, there is no question of my having ever given him an appointment to meet me," he added.
Mallya, who had arrived at the court for the hearing, said that he had made a “comprehensive settlement” offer before the Karnataka High Court that will help in paying off all his dues.
"As far as I am concerned, I have made a comprehensive settlement offer before Karnataka High Court. I hope the honourable judges will consider it favourably; everybody gets paid off and I guess that's the primary objective,” he told reporters gathered outside the court.
According to Mallya, he and the United Breweries Group (UBHL) have filed an application in the Karnataka High Court on June 22, 2018, setting out available assets of approximately Rs 13,900 crore.
(With inputs from PTI)