Despite being granted exemption from personal appearance, a defiant Vijay Mallya was at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for the hearing in his extradition case. The court also rejected Mallya’s request to shift the final hearing date in his extradition case to next year and fixed it for December 4.
“I do as my lawyers advise. This is a court. Let them present what evidence they have and we will present our case” the former Kingfisher airlines chief told reporters outside the court house before the start of his hearing.
With the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filing a 2000-page dossier as evidence against Mallya, the court has set the next date for hearing at September 14 at 2 pm. “We will file a strong case against Mallya in Court,” news channel NDTV reported the CBI as saying.
After his court appearance, when asked why did he flee India, Mallya told news agency ANI: “I have been living in England since 1992.”
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had chargesheeted Mallya for defaulting on several bank loans amounting to nearly Rs 9,000 crore. The fugitive liquor baron had been granted bail by Chief Magistrate Emma Louise Arbuthnot until December 4 in the first hearing being held on June 13. The second hearing had been scheduled for July 6 which was being held on Thursday.
Mallya was arrested in Scotyand Yard on fraud allegations in April and released on bail after a few hours on conditional bail after paying 650,000 pounds until December 4, the date which was tentatively fixed as the final hearing in the case.
— ANI (@ANI_news) July 6, 2017
Earlier on Wednesday, a fresh non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against the liquor baron in connection with a money laundering case being probed by the ED for alleged bank loan fraud. “The court has taken cognisance of the ED chargesheet filed on June 14, 2017 and issued a NBW against Mallya”, Special ED counsel Hiten Venegoankar had said.
PTI quoted official sources, “All documents and witness statements have been presented from the Indian side and the CPS is very happy with it. They are confident that all the evidence is in good order. So we are in good situation and all we hope is that the other side stop delaying.”
Mallya had been exempted from attending today’s hearing after his defence team claimed he was “swarmed by media cameras” on his entry to the court last month.
Barrister Ben Watson had urged the judge to impose barriers for the media outside the court for future hearings, to which the judge responded by excusing Mallya from the next court appearance while she looked into her authority to impose such barriers.
CPS, represented by Aaron Watkins, had presented the case in court on behalf of the Indian authorities. Mallya’s defence wanted a final hearing date in March or April 2018, claiming they are yet to receive the “final evidence” from the Indian authorities and also believe a second extradition request is coming. The second request is believed to relate to the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) case against Mallya.