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Keep dreaming about a billion pounds: Vijay Mallya ‘taunts’ authorities

The former chief of defunct Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya, arrived for the extradition case hearing at a London court.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2017 11:19 IST
Vijay Mallya arrives for his extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London.
Vijay Mallya arrives for his extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London.(AP Photo)

The Westminster Magistrates Court on Tuesday extended Indian businessman Vijay Mallya’s bail till December 4 even as he said he has “enough evidence” to defend himself in the extradition case brought by the Indian government.

The embattled tycoon, wanted in India on loan defaults to several banks amounting to nearly Rs 9,000-crore, taunted authorities saying, “you can keep dreaming about a billion pounds”.

Mallya was arrested and bailed on April 18. Tuesday’s court hearing was confined to “case management” to decide the date for the full hearing on extradition, tentatively set for December 4.

Outside the court, 61-year-old Mallya denied all the allegations against him and said he had “enough evidence” to prove his case.

“I deny all allegations that have been made and I will continue to deny them,” said the 61-year-old flamboyant boss of the erstwhile Kingfisher airlines, who appeared before the court for his extradition case hearing.

“I have not eluded any court...I have enough evidence to prove my case,” Mallya told reporters. “I don’t make statements to the media because anything I say is twisted. There is enough evidence, that will speak.”

Mallya also claimed that no loans were diverted anywhere. “You can keep dreaming about a billion pounds; you cannot prove anything without facts,” he said.

The court set July 6 as the next date for hearing the case after magistrate Emma Arthbutnot heard arguments by Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyer Aaron Watkins on behalf of India and Mallya’s lawyer Ben Watson.

He remarked that when he went to cheer the Indian cricket team in the Champions Trophy, it “became a media sensation”. He said: “I go to cheer India in a cricket match and it becomes a media frenzy. It’s better I don’t say anything.”

Read | Vijay Mallya booed with ‘chor, chor’ chants at India vs SA game - video

Mallya appeared in person in court but was exempted from appearing at the July 6 hearing after his lawyer sought directions from the judge to set up barricades outside the court to prevent his client being mobbed by the media.

The magistrate said she was not sure if she had the powers to put up such barricades.

Watson said the defence had not yet received all documents in the case from the prosecution, and sought a date in February or March for the full hearing on extradition.

Watkins, however, said the material submitted so far was “not insufficient”. When the magistrate asked, “Are Indians quite prompt in their responses”, Watkins said there was a “good and close working relationship” with the Indian government.

Vijay Mallya arrives for extradition hearing at Westminster court. (Prasun Sonwalkar/HT Photo)

Mallya’s lawyer also said a second extradition request is expected from the Indian government. He said India was preparing the second request with further separate charges.

The CPS met a team from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in London last month to finalise the case. A CBI official travelled from New Delhi to London for Tuesday’s hearing.

Mallya, wanted in India for Kingfisher Airlines’ default on loans worth nearly Rs 9,000 crores, has been in the UK since March 2016. After his arrest in April, he was released on bail after providing a bond of £ 650,000.