UK court says Vijay Mallya has case of fraud to answer

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The extradition trial of Vijay Mallya, wanted in India on charges of Rs 9,000 crores fraud and money laundering, on Monday began at a UK court here, with the prosecution asserting that the embattled liquor baron had a "case of fraud" to answer.

Mallya has arrived at the London's Westminster Magistrates Court for the hearing in extradition case on Monday. The trial will last until December 14, with December 8 marked a non-sitting day.

As per latest reports, the hearing has been delayed because of a fire alarm at the Westminster court. The court has been evacuated due to the alarm.

Vijay Mallya

A special CBI director Rakesh Asthana along with three other senior officials would also attend the trial.

When confronted by the media personnel, Mallya said, "I did not escape from India...All allegations against me are fabricated."

The 61-year-old businessman, out on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard earlier this year, was released by the judge on the same bail conditions and was asked to appear at court on December 4.

The UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is arguing the case against Mallya on behalf of the Indian authorities, had presented additional "supplemental" charges of money laundering to the previous charges of fraud at the last hearing in the case on October 3.

The previous fraud charges relate to Mallya's now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owing more than Rs 9,000 crore to various Indian banks. The UB Group chief has been in a self-imposed exile in the UK since he left India on March 2, 2016. The CPS said it was technically re-filing its extradition request in court after the new charges "superseded" the previous ongoing case.

The judge, Chief Magistrate Emma Louise Arbuthnot, agreed to formally re-open a fresh case while keeping the same time-table as set before. However, she had concurred with Mallya's defence team that if further evidence keeps coming in it could put the December 4 trial date at "risk" before releasing him on the same bail conditions as before.

OneIndia News

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