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Mallya extradition trial: UK court to rule on prosecution documents on Thursday

Liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya is wanted in India on charges of financial irregularities amounting to nearly Rs 9,000 crore. The judgment is expected to be pronounced in the next few weeks.

world Updated: Jan 10, 2018 09:04 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Vijay Mallya,Extradition trial,Westminster magistrate's court
Controversial businessman Vijay Mallya at an extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrate’s Court in central London last year. (REUTERS File)

The Westminster magistrates court will resume on Thursday the hearing in the extradition case of controversial Indian businessman Vijay Mallya who is wanted in India on charges of financial irregularities amounting to nearly Rs 9,000 crore.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had sought more details at the last hearing on December 14 from the lawyer representing India of the conditions at Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail where Mallya will be lodged, if extradited. The prosecution and defence were scheduled to submit closing statements by last week.

On Thursday, Arbuthnot is likely to give a ruling on the admissibility of some documents submitted by the Indian government. The documents setting out charges against Mallya were objected to by the defence on the ground that their wording was identical, following what seemed like a template.

Mark Summers, appearing for the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the Indian government, assured the court at the last hearing that all further jail information sought by the judge will be submitted before Wednesday.

Mallya’s legal team, led by Claire Montgomery, has raised four issues to oppose the extradition: The absence of a prima facie case, extraneous considerations, human rights and abuse of process. Summers’ focus has been to prove that Mallya has a case to answer in India.

The defence presented four witnesses described as ‘independent’, who deposed on areas such as the Indian legal system, politics, jail conditions, banking and accounts. Several issues were raised by the witnesses, including the recent appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the CBI special director. They were cross-examined by Summers, at times agreeing with his perspectives.

According to a medical report read out in court, Mallya suffers from diabetes, coronary artery disease and sleep apnoea. Doubts were raised whether he would receive proper medical attention in Arthur Road jail.

A timetable of the concluding stage of the case is expected to be announced on Wednesday.

The judgement is expected in the next few weeks and will be open to either side to appeal against it.

If the Indian government’s case against Mallya is upheld, it will be up to home secretary Amber Rudd to sign off on his extradition in the final stage of the process. India’s case against Tiger Hanif, who is wanted in connection with blasts in Gujarat in 1993, was upheld by the high court in April 2013, but the home secretary is yet to clear his extradition.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 13:27 IST