LONDON: In a setback to fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya, a UK court has admitted documentation filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in favour of his extradition, and which also included details about facilities in the Arthur Road jail that would be provided to Mallya.
The next hearing of the case would be held on July 11.
Unlike previous extradition cases that progressed through the courts over years and were eventually unsuccessful, Indian officials are delighted that the Mallya case has moved swiftly from the initial request, made on February 17, 2017, his arrest on April 18, 2017 and the likely conclusion now.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed with UK Prime Minister Theresa May extradition cases of individuals sought by both countries during the former’s visit to London earlier this in Aprilmonth, with Modi mainly mentioning those of economic offenders such as Mallya.
Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, who has described the Mallya case as a ‘jigsaw puzzle’, gave a ruling on the admissibility of over 150 pages of documents submitted by Indian agencies,setting out bank officials’ statements on loans to Mallya.
The 62-year-old liquor baron, who is wanted in India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore, is currently on a 650,000 pounds bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant by Scotland Yard in April 2017.
“It’s another day in court”, Mallya told reporters outside the court in London earlier on Friday.
At the last hearing in the case on March 16, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had noted that it was “blindingly obvious” that rules were being broken by Indian banks which sanctioned some of the loans to the erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines owned by Mallya.
“There are clear signs that the banks seem to have gone against their own guidelines (in sanctioning some of the loans),” she said, “inviting” the Indian authorities to explain the case against some of the bank officials involved because that relates to the “conspiracy” allegations against Mallya.