A court in the United Kingdom on Thursday declined fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s request to change the final hearing date in his extradition case to 2018, reported PTI. Instead, it set the final hearing date for December 4.
The Crown Prosecution Service, arguing on behalf of the Indian government, told the Westminster Magistrates’ Court that they had “excellent cooperation” with the Indian authorities in the case. The service said they had sufficient material to establish a prima facie case for Mallya’s extradition.
“We have completed a review of materials and I am happy to state that we have had excellent cooperation with the Indian authorities in this case,” CPS lawyer Mark Summers told the judge. The CPS also informed the court that the Indian authorities had been “anticipating issues” that may block the extradition.
However, Mallya’s defence team claimed they had received hundreds of pages of material as “further evidence” only on Wednesday evening. They argued that more time should be provided to them to study the material, and asked for the final date of hearing to be changed to April 2018.
However, after fixing the date of the last hearing as December 4, the judge directed the Indian side to provide a detailed opening note on the case to Mallya’s defence team by July 31. She said that after this, another hearing to assess the progress in the case would be held on September 14.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed a 2,000-page dossier as evidence to place before the London court, NDTV reported earlier on Thursday. “Let the CBI provide the evidence they have. We will also state our case. We are in court now, I have nothing more to say,” Mallya said before Thursday’s hearing.
The legal tangle
Mallya, who owes 17 banks in India more than Rs 9,000 crore, has been in the UK since March 2016.
On June 13, the London court had extended Mallya’s bail till December 4 and had scheduled the next hearing for July 6. Mallya had claimed that he had enough evidence to prove his innocence in a loan default case. The court had also exempted him from being present at Thursday’s hearing after his legal team raised the matter of mediapersons hounding the industrialist outside the court.
A Central Bureau of Investigation official was also flown in for the investigation from Delhi before the hearing last month.
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 (approximately Rs 6.40 crores).
Mallya, who has been embroiled in a number of cases in India, had earlier said that he would not return to the country. 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.
The CBI and the Enforcement Directorate have held talks with Crown Prosecution Service lawyers in the past and have provided them with the necessary documents.