Tycoon Vijay Mallya appeared before a court in London today that will decide whether he would be extradited to India to stand trial for fraud and money laundering. The 61-year-old, who arrived with a team carrying four large boxes of evidence, stuck to his “not guilty” stance.The hearing for the liquor baron’s extradition will take place over eight days and continue till December 14, after which the date for the verdict will be announced.Ahead of the hearing at the Westminister court, Mr Mallya told reporters,
“I have said repeatedly that the charges are false, fabricated and baseless. I have nothing to say, submissions in court will be self-evident”. The 61-year-old, who has been out on a 650,000-pound bail bond following his arrest by Scotland Yard in April, told the reporters to “Please hear the proceedings”.
A four-member team from the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is pursuing the case, was at the court. The Crown Prosecution Service — led by barrister Mark Summers — is arguing on behalf of the Indian government.The defence team is led by barrister Clare Montgomery, known as an expert in criminal and fraud law.
The opening of the trial, however, was delayed as a fire alarm went off and the courtroom had to be evacuated. Trial resumed after nearly 40 minutes.
Mr Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines owes Rs. 9,000 crore to a consortium of banks. He left the country in March 2016 when the banks united to scale up their efforts to recover the money. On May 9, he was found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court, after he was found to have sent his children millions of dollars.