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Extradition case: Mallya back in UK court as lawyers focus on airline industry woes

PTI London | Updated on February 13, 2020

Vijay Mallya   -  THE HINDU

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya was back at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday for the second day of his High Court appeal against extradition to India, during which his lawyers argued against any prima facie case of fraud and money laundering against him.

The 64-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, wanted in India on charges amounting to an alleged ₹9,000 crore in unpaid bank loans, sat in the public gallery as his legal team highlighted the widespread woes of the airline industry in India, including another collapsed firm Jet Airways.

Lord Justice Stephen Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing, the two-member bench hearing the appeal, confirmed at the start that they would not be handing down their verdict immediately after the hearing, scheduled until Thursday.

Mallya’s barrister, Clare Montgomery, reiterated the central defence that there had been no misrepresentation or fraud on the part of her client and that Kingfisher Airlines was the victim of economic misfortune alongside other airlines.

“The airline industry is littered with examples of struggling airlines being supported for strategic reasons,” said Montgomery.

She has focussed her arguments on trying to establish multiple errors in Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot’s verdict in favour of her client’s extradition in December 2018 and revisited a series of bank statements and balance sheets provided to Indian banks to seek loans as proof of full disclosure.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), appearing in court on behalf of the Indian government, is set to counter the defence arguments later on Wednesday, mostly as a supplement to already submitted written arguments.

Representatives from the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation as well as the Indian High Commission in London were present in the court for the hearing.

Published on February 12, 2020

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