Liquor baron Vijay Mallya out on a 650,000-pound bail bond following his arrest by Scotland Yard over fraud and money laundering charges, returned to Westminster Magistrates’ Court here today as his extradition trial begins.
The 61-year-old businessman, who has been in self-imposed exile in the UK since March 2016 when he left India, is wanted in India on charges relating to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines defaulting on loans from various Indian banks amounting to Rs 9,000 crore. The trial is set to open with opening arguments, followed by the witness statement of Dr B Humphreys, who is an aviation expert.
Before his appearance, Vijay Malltya said, ” I have said repeatedly that the charges are false, fabricated and baseless. I have nothing to say, submissions in court will be self evident.”
He also said:
I am not the decision maker. I will follow the proceedings. I have nothing to say: #VijayMallya ahead of appearing before London’s Westminster Court in connection with extradition case pic.twitter.com/VEr0aSZHpg
— ANI (@ANI) December 4, 2017
Others expected to give their statements for the defence include Margaret Sweeney, chief accountant at Force India Formula One racing team, Professor Lau as an expert on the Indian legal system, and Dr Alan Mitchell, a licensed medical practitioner and a former medical officer with the Scottish prison system. The extradition trial itself, to be presided over by Judge Arbuthnot, is listed for hearings until December 14, with December 6 and 8 so far marked as non-sitting days. A judgement in the case is not expected until early next year.
If the judge rules in favour of extradition at the end of the trial, UK home secretary Amber Rudd must order Mallya’s extradition within two months. However, the case can go through a series of court appeals before the actual extradition order can be issued. His extradition trial will now determine whether he can be legally forced to go back to face the Indian courts