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Vijay Mallya's extradition from UK: Prison conditions to the fore again

The hearing on December 4 is estimated to last eight days and the judge may make a decision at the conclusion of the hearing, a CPS spokesperson told Hindustan Times.

india Updated: Nov 19, 2017 22:03 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Vijay Mallya,Mallya extradition,Sanjeev Kumar Chawla
Vijay Mallya (centre) leaves court in central London in June. (AFP File)

Conditions in Indian jails where inmates allegedly face “torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” is one of the key defence issues in the potential extradition of controversial businessman Vijay Mallya, whose case returns in court on Monday.

The issue figured in previous unsuccessful cases, most recently on October 16, when the Westminster Magistrates Court, which is also hearing Mallya’s case, ruled against the extradition of Sanjeev Kumar Chawla, wanted in India for his role in cricket match-fixing.

India has filed an appeal in the high court in the Chawla case with material on conditions in Tihar jail in Delhi, stating that the judge did not take into account documents of the home ministry related to the jail before arriving at the judgement.

In Mallya’s case (number1700934281), the Indian government has assured the court through the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that he will not face any threat to life if extradited and lodged in barrack number 12 of the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai. Detailed material has been submitted on conditions in the jail.

Monday’s hearing at 10am (UK time)is likely to be the last ‘case management hearing' before the full extradition case opens on December 4.

“The hearing on 4 December is estimated to last eight days and the judge may make a decision at the conclusion of the hearing”, a CPS spokesperson told HindustanTimes.

Facing charges in India of financial irregularities amounting to nearly Rs 9,000 crore, Mallya, who arrived here in March 2016, was first arrested and bailed on April 18, and again on October 3, when further money-laundering charges were added to theearlier ones.

Mallya, who continues to be on bail until the December 4 hearing, has appeared in court during most of the hearings, though he has been exempted by the court from doing so. After his October 3 arrest and bail, an unruffled Mallya told journalists to wait for the final court ruling.

Prison conditions were also one offour issues in the extradition case of Jatinder Angurala and Asha Rani Angurala, wanted in India for allegations of fraud, but the judge ruled against their extradition on the ground of ‘passage of time’ (the case dated back to 1990).

In Chawla’s case, a series of reports by human rights organisations on prison conditions and someIndian court rulings figured in the detailed judgement. Evidence by Alan Mitchell, a Scottish expert on jails, on Indian jails was also highlighted.

First Published: Nov 19, 2017 22:03 IST