The Westminster Magistrates’ Court hearing of liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s extradition case ended inconclusively after his defence team failed to complete their arguments in the case, PTI reported on Friday. No date has been set for the next hearing and Mallya has been granted bail until April 2.
The Crown Prosecution Service and Mallya’s defence team have been asked to decide on a date to return to court and complete their representations within the next three weeks. The crown will argue in favour of the evidence against Mallya.
Mallya is wanted in India on charges of defrauding banks of more than Rs 9,000 crore. The businessman, who has been in the UK since March 2016, had said he would not return to the country. India’s Ministry of External Affairs had submitted an extradition request to the United Kingdom on February 9 after Mallya made his self-imposed exile clear. The request was made on the basis of an extradition treaty signed between the countries in 1992.
In December, the prosecution had told the London court that the political expert deposed by Mallya’s defence relied on flawed evidence to discredit Indian investigation agencies.
The prosecution also read out to the court an email from a researcher whose study Mallya’s defence had earlier cited to question India’s Supreme Court. The researcher wrote that Mallya’s lawyers had misinterpreted his study.
Lawrence Saez, a professor at London’s School of Oriental and Asian Studies, told the court that the impartiality of the Central Bureau of Investigation was questionable. He picked up the controversy around the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the special director of CBI, and invoked a Supreme Court ruling that had called the agency a “caged parrot”. He cited memoirs of former CBI directors to show how investigations could be “interfered with”.
However, the Crown Prosecution Service, arguing for the Indian government, said the Supreme Court judgement that Saez had cited had led to the creation of the Central Vigilance Commission, which had “independent oversight over the CBI”.