Mallya alleged extradition trial over money laundering next hearing date remains uncertain

UB Group Chairman Vijay Mally at UB group Annual General Meeting in Bangalore on Thursday.Express photo by Nagaraja Gadekal

Vastavam web: The next submissions hearing in the extradition trial of Vijay Mallya over alleged fraud and money laundering amounting to Rs 9,000 crores remains uncertain as the lawyers are yet to agree on a mutually convenient date.Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot was listed to hear the case at Westminster Magistrates Court today, with the 62- year-old embattled liquor baron exempt from attending.The case had been left undecided over the issue of admissibility of evidence presented by the Indian authorities at a hearing earlier this month.

Judge Arbuthnot is set to rule on the issue once Mallya’s defence team completes its argument claiming “absence of a strong prima facie case” and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, responds in favour of the evidence.A senior official had confirmed that the Indian government has now presented all clarifications sought by the judge during a hearing in the case in December, including regular medical assistance that will be made available to the businessman at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai where he is to be held.

At the last hearing on January 11, Mallya’s barrister Clare Montgomery argued that evidence that was claimed as a “blueprint of dishonesty” by the CPS was in fact privileged conversation between Mallya and his lawyer about “legal advice in clear contemplation of litigation” and hence should be inadmissible.Dismissing the nature and source of these witness statements, Mallya s defence claimed they do not meet “obligations” under the India-UK extradition treaty to provide “proper” statements.

The Indian authorities have stressed that they are confident the evidence meets all the requirements under the treaty.Mallya was arrested by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant in April 2017 and has been out on bail on a bond worth 650,000 pounds.