The prison cell is ready and it is according to the European standards, this is what the CBI reportedly told the UK Court during the hearing of Vijay Mallya’s extradition case on Friday.
In what can be called as major victory the investigation agency, the UK court admitted the bulk of the evidence submitted by the CBI against Mallya. This would boost India’s chance of extraditing the 62-year-old in Rs 9,000 crore default case.
The flamboyant businessman, who appeared in the Westminister Magistrate’s Court in London, had his 650,000 pounds bail extended until the next date of hearing on July 11.
When the court reconvenes, oral submissions will be made on closing arguments to be submitted in writing to Judge Emma Arbuthnot over the next two months. The judge is then expected to indicate plans for a verdict in the case at the next hearing.
“We have just asked for a final hearing to make our closing submissions orally. Nothing wrong with that, no delaying tactics. On the contrary, we requested an earlier date than what was being discussed,” Mallya told reporters on being asked about “delays” in the case on his way out of the court.
During today’s hearing, the judge initially seemed reluctant to allow another hearing, being requested by Mallya’s defence team.
“So, you want a hearing for the press,” she said in response to Mallya’s counsel Ben Watson, pointing out the significant public and media interest in the case.
“That is extremely unfair,” responded Watson, adding that the defence team needed an opportunity to respond to some of the additional material presented by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), on behalf of the Indian government.
The CPS told the court that the Indian authorities had been engaged in the extradition process in a “spirit of real cooperation” and had provided the conspiracy note and schedule of notional charges as directed at the previous hearing in March.
The judge classified the additional material handed in by the Indian side as “very helpful indeed” and said that it is all admissible, except an email which the defence has claimed was privileged interaction between Mallya and his lawyer about “legal advice”.
“I am still sitting on the fence on that,” she said.
The CBI has submitted a detailed set of documents to the UK court, which includes its case of conspiracy against former IDBI Bank deputy managing director B K Batra, who was referred to in court as a new “villain” of sorts in the case.
As per the Indian authorities’ case of conspiracy, Batra reportedly colluded with Mallya in sanctioning some of the loans to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines without following due diligence procedures.
The extradition trial, which opened at the London court on December 4 last year, is aimed at laying out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya, who has been based in the UK since he left India in March 2016.