Business tycoon Vijay Mallya’s extradition trial over fraud and money laundering is set for one of its final stages at Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Mallya, who is on trial at the UK court, will get to know whether he can be deported to India to face numerous charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs.9,000 crore.
The bench is headed by Judge Emma Arbuthnot and she is expected to set a fixed timeframe for the final verdict. The 62-year-old, however, is on bail until April 2 and hence, not compelled to attend the hearing on Friday.
Earlier, Mallya’s team had questioned the investigating officers in the case by counting pages over 150, that were ‘near identical material’ claiming to be statements by the witnesses taken under Section 161 of the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The Queen’s counsel Claire Montgomery, who is arguing on behalf of Mallya said that the documents were ‘identically reproduced’ with same words and same typing errors, which is surprising and shocking.
The judge also asked about the availability of natural light and medical assistance at Barrack 12 of Mumbai Central Prison on Arthur Road, where Mallya will be placed if he is deported from Britain.
The trial opened at London court on December 4, against Vijay Mallya who has been based in the UK since he fled from India in March 2016. It also seeks clarification on whether Mallya would be given fair trial in India over his obsolete Kingfisher Airlines’ alleged loans of over Rs 9,000 crore from a group of Indian banks.
The CPS, who are representing the Indian Government, are confident about the evidence which they had presented proves ‘dishonesty’ on Mallya’s part. Mallya’s defense team, however, claims that the businessman had no ‘fraudulent’ intentions and is unlikely to get an unbiased trial in India.
In April 2017, Mallya was arrested by the Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant, but has been out on bail worth 6,50,000 pounds. The Chief Magistrate is likely to announce her verdict by May 2018.
The UK home secretary will have two months to clear Mallya’s deportation orders if the Chief Magistrate gives the decision in favour of the Indian Government. However, any of the sides can appeal to higher courts in the UK against Arbuthnot’s ruling.