Vastavam web: Vijay Mallya’s defence team today argued that there was no evidence to support the case of fraud presented against him by the government of India as the liquor baron returned to court here on day two of his extradition trial.The 61-year-old, wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores, was in the dock at Westminster Magistrates Court for his defence, headed by barrister Clare Montgomery.Montgomery claimed that the evidence presented by the CPS, on the direction of the Indian government, to prove a case of fraud amounted to “zero”, which she said was a “critical failing on the part of government of India”.
She claimed that the government does not have a credible case to support the argument that the borrowing by Mallya was fraudulent and he had no intentions to pay back the loans he sought because his profit projections for loss-making Kingfisher Airlines were unreliable.The prosecution yesterday had laid out what it termed as “three chapters of dishonesty” by the former Kingfisher Airlines boss the first being misrepresentations to various banks to acquire loans, then how he misused the money and finally his conduct after the banks recalled the loans.
“Instead of acting as an honest person and doing what he could to meet his obligations, he sets about erecting lines of defence,” CPS barrister Mark Summers had said.The opening day’s proceedings were concluded with an assertion by the CPS that it had “shown by virtue of evidence a prima facie case”against Mallya and the hearing should now move to the next phase of any “bars to extradition”.The next phase is when factors such as prison conditions in India are likely to take centre-stage.
The CPS had earlier admitted that there may have been “irregularities” in the internal processes of the banks sanctioning some of those loans but that would be a question to be dealt with at a later stage in India.Mallya, who was arrested by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant in April this year, has been out on bail on a bond worth 650,000 pounds.
His trial is scheduled to end on December 14, with Wednesday and Friday marked as non-sitting days.A timeframe for a judgement in the case, being presided over by Judge Emma Louise Arbuthnot, will be determined only at the end of the trial and once the closing arguments have been made.If the judge rules in favour of extradition at the end of the trial, the UK home secretary must order Mallya’s extradition within two months.