Vastavam web: Embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya, out on a 650,000-pound bail bond following his arrest by Scotland Yard over fraud and money laundering charges earlier this year, will return to Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London tomorrow 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.His defence team, led by barrister Clare Montgomery known as an expert in criminal and fraud law with the UK s Matrix Chambers, will now present his case in court.
“We are keen to draw a line under all the material evidential and non-evidential,” she had said during the last case management hearing on November 20, when Mallya’s defence team presented a running order of expert witnesses to be deposed in the case.It was Dr Mitchell s testimony that had a major impact on another Indian extradition request in October, that of alleged bookie Sanjeev Chawla a key accused in the cricket match – fixing scandal involving former South African captain Hanse Cronje in 2000.
That request was rejected after a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on the grounds that Chawla’s human rights would be violated in Delhi’s Tihar Jail under Section 87, Article 3 relating to “prohibition of torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment”. The Indian government has sought permission to appeal against the decision in the UK High Court.The CPS team, led by barrister Mark Summers who specialises in extradition cases, highlighted “excellent cooperation with the Indian authorities”, who had provided detailed assurances and photographs by email relating to prison conditions where Mallya is to be held if he were to be extradited to India.
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.”The Crown Prosecution Service, acting on behalf of the Indian authorities, will need to demonstrate a prima facie case i.e. produce some evidence to show that the criminal charges against Mr Mallya, for which his extradition is sought, are justified,” explains Jasvinder Nakhwal, partner at Peters and Peters Solicitors LLP and member of the UK’s Extradition Lawyers Association.
India and the UK have an Extradition Treaty dating back to 1992 but so far only one extradition has taken place from the UK to India under the arrangement, that of Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel wanted in connection with the post-Godhra riots of 2002. But, unlike Mallya, he had submitted to the extradition order without a legal challenge.