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Mallya’s appeal in UK court against extradition to India enters final day | Press24-India News


LONDON: Liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice here on Thursday for the final day of his appeal against being extradited to India, during which the prosecution will conclude its arguments to establish “overwhelming evidence of dishonesty” on the part of the former Kingfisher Airlines boss. Mallya, 64, who is wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to Rs 9,000 crores in unpaid bank loans, said he felt “good” as he entered the court. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), appearing in court on behalf of the Indian government, continued to take the High Court through evidence to counter his lawyers’ claims that chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had fallen into error when she found a prima facie case of fraud and money laundering to answer in the Indian courts against Mallya. “What they (Kingfisher Airlines) were saying (to the banks) about profitability going forward was knowingly wrong,” said CPS barrister Mark Summers as he opened the arguments on Thursday. Lord Justice Stephen Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing, the two-member bench hearing the appeal, have said they will be handing down their verdict at a later date after considering the “very dense” case. Mallya, who remains on bail on an extradition warrant, is not required to attend the hearings but has been in court to observe the proceedings since the three-day appeal opened on Tuesday. A key defence to disprove a prima facie case of fraud and misrepresentation on his part has revolved around the fact that Kingfisher Airlines was the victim of economic misfortune alongside other Indian airlines. However, the CPS has argued that “there is enough in the 32,000 pages of overall evidence to fulfil the (extradition) treaty obligations that there is a case to answer”. “There is not just a prima facie case but overwhelming evidence of dishonesty… and given the volume and depth of evidence the District Judge (Arbuthnot) had before her, the judgment is comprehensive and detailed with the odd error but nothing that impacts the prima facie case,” said Summers. At the start of the appeal, Mallya’s counsel claimed Arbuthnot did not look at all of the evidence because if she had, she would not have fallen into the multiple errors that permeate her judgment. The High Court must establish if the magistrates’ court had in fact fallen short on a point of law in its verdict in favour of extradition. Representatives from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as well as the Indian high commission in London have been present in court to take notes during the course of the appeal hearing. Mallya had received permission to appeal against his extradition order signed off by former UK home secretary Sajid Javid last February only on one ground, which challenges the Indian government’s prima facie case against him of fraudulent intentions in acquiring bank loans. At the end of a year-long extradition trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London in December 2018, Judge Arbuthnot had found “clear evidence of dispersal and misapplication of the loan funds” and accepted a prima facie case of fraud and a conspiracy to launder money against Mallya, as presented by the CPS on behalf of the Indian government. Mallya remains on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April 2017 involving a bond worth 650,000 pounds and other restrictions on his travel while he contests that ruling.

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