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The Crown Prosecution Service begins outlining the case against Vijay Mallya and says he misled banks in India. Mark Sumners gives details of the loan applications, but says the bankers were only in breach of internal rules when it comes to sanctioning of loans. The prosecution argues that in the loan applications, guarantees offered were related to the brand, aircrafts as well as personal guarantee from Mallya himself.
The Crown Prosecution Service needs to demonstrate a prima facie case by producing evidence to show that the criminal charges against Mallya are justified and that he should be extradited to face the Indian courts. The CPS, acting on behalf of the Indian authorities, had presented "supplemental" charges of money laundering to previous charges of fraud against the businessman at an earlier hearing in October. The judge had agreed to effectively re-open a fresh case so that all charges can be heard concurrently in court.
Vijay Mallya has entered the court and is seated in the dock. His bail is set to end today but magistrate Emma Arbuthnot is expected to extend it. Mark Sumners, lawyer for Crown Prosecution Service (for India), has appeared in several extradition-related cases. He hands over to the judge details about papers containing index and responses to witness statements.
Prison conditions in India are expected to be at the forefront during the hearing. Sources tell CNN-News18 that the strategy of Mallya’s counsel would be to bring up his human rights and argue that the liquor baron would not be safe in India. The Indian government has provided assurances of protection of Mallya's human rights.
The 61-year-old has been out on bail since Scotland Yard executed an extradition warrant in April this year. He will be in the dock for the duration of the trial scheduled to end on December 14. A judgment in the case, being presided over by Judge Emma Louise Arbuthnot, is unlikely until early next year.
Vijay Mallya, who has been in self-imposed exile in the UK since March 2016 when he left India, is wanted in India on charges relating to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines defaulting on loans from various Indian banks amounting toRs9,000 crore. The trial is set to open with opening arguments, followed by the witness statement of Dr B Humphreys, who is an aviation expert.
File photo of liquor baron Vijay Mallya. (Reuters)
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