In the ongoing extradition trial of fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the UK Court on Friday reportedly admitted all the evidence put forth by the CBI. The Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, which is hearing the case, will also decide the date of final verdict on July 11.
Mallya, who is wanted in India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore, is currently on a 650,000 pounds bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant by Scotland Yard in April last year.
"It's another day in court", Mallya told reporters outside the Westminster Magistrates' Court before the hearing began today.
At the last hearing in the case on March 16, the judge had noted that it was "blindingly obvious" that rules were being broken by Indian banks which sanctioned some of the loans to the erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines owned by Mallya.
"There are clear signs that the banks seem to have gone against their own guidelines (in sanctioning some of the loans)," Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had said, "inviting" the Indian authorities to explain the case against some of the bank officials involved because that relates to the "conspiracy" allegations against Mallya.
At the end of that hearing, the judge had indicated her decision on the admissibility of evidence would go in favour of admitting some material and excluding some affidavits, which she said did not pertain to the prima facie case of fraud.
Mallya's counsel, Clare Montgomery, had also argued that evidence which was claimed as a "blueprint of dishonesty" by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is arguing on behalf of the Indian government, was in fact a privileged interaction between Mallya and his lawyer about "legal advice in clear contemplation of litigation" and hence should be inadmissible.
The trial, which opened at the London court on December 4 last year, is aimed at laying out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya, who has been based in the UK since he left India in March 2016. It also seeks to prove there are no "bars to extradition" and that the tycoon is assured a fair trial in India over his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines' alleged default of over Rs 9,000 crore in loans from a consortium of Indian banks. The CPS, representing the Indian government, has argued that the evidence they have presented establishes "dishonesty" on the part of the businessman and that there are no bars to him being extradited from the UK to face Indian courts.
Mallya's defence team has deposed a series of expert witnesses to claim he had no "fraudulent" intentions and that he is unlikely to get a fair trial in India. If the judge rules in favour of the Indian government, the UK home secretary will have two months to sign Mallya's extradition order. However, both sides will have the chance to appeal in higher courts in the UK against the Magistrates' Court verdict.
OneIndia News with PTI inputs