The Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Tuesday extended absconding Indian businessman Vijay Mallya’s bail and set the management hearing in the extradition case against him for July 6, The Hindu reported. Mallya said he has enough evidence to prove his innocence in a loan default case of around Rs 9,000 crore, before appearing for his extradition hearing. His extradition hearing will be held on December 4, 2017 provisionally, the court said.
“I deny all allegations against me. I have not eluded the court, I have enough evidence to prove that I am not guilty,” Mallya said before entering the court.
Tuesday’s hearing was a “case management hearing”, where the judge set a timetable to hear the arguments for and against Mallya’s extradition, reported The Times of India. A Central Bureau of Investigation official was also flown in for the investigation from Delhi, reported the Economic Times. Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service argued in the court on behalf of India. The hearing was scheduled for May 13, but was deferred by a month.
Mallya has been exempted from being present at the July 6 hearing after his legal team raised the matter of mediapersons hounding the industrialist outside the court, Hindustan Times reported.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said on Tuesday that Mallya would be brought back to the country as soon as the law permits it. Singh said the documents in the possession of Enforcement Directorate authorities had been sent to the UK, reported The Indian Express.
“Extradition not as simple as we think. Documents by ED have been sent to UK. As soon as their law permits, we will bring him back,” V K Singh said.
In May, a team of officials from the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate had held talks with Crown Prosecution Service lawyers and provided them with the necessary documents, Hindustan Times reported.
What came before
Mallya was granted bail by a Westminster magistrates’ court on April 18, only hours after he was arrested by the Scotland Yard. He was released on a conditional deposit of £6.5 lakh (around Rs 5.34 crores). Mallya was arrested on behalf of Indian authorities for his alleged involvement in fraud, a statement issued by the Scotland Yard had said.
Mallya, who owes 17 banks in India more than Rs 9,000 crore, has been in UK since March 2016 and had earlier said that he would not return to the country. He has been embroiled in a number of cases in India. The Ministry of External Affairs had submitted an extradition request for Mallya on February 9. Later that month, Indian and UK officials met to discuss deportation cases and pending requests to extradite people.
As an aside, Mallya was in the news last week after he was booed and heckled by Indian fans at the India versus South Africa Champions Trophy match at Oval sounds in London.