Liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Tuesday appeared before the Royal Courts of Justice in London for his appeal against extradition to India, where his lawyers claimed “multiple errors” in a magistrates’ court’s order.
The 64-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who remains on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April 2017, avoided the media at the court entrance and went in with his lawyers separately.
“I’m just here to listen,” he said, when asked for a comment.
Vijay Mallya’s lawyer told the High Court that that Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot’s verdict in favour of extradition in December 2018 was “flawed” and questioned the admissibility of some witness statements submitted by the Indian government.
Clare Montgomery opened argued in the court that Vijay Mallya had no fraudulent intentions when he sought bank loans for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines because he is no “fly by night figure but an immensely wealthy man” who was not running any sort of “ponzi scheme” but a reputable airline, which fell into economic misfortune along with other Indian airlines.
In what she described as a “very dense case”, which has proved extraordinarily difficult to manage as there are “any number of rabbit holes” to go down, Clare Montgomery said: “She (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 hearing is scheduled for three days with Vijay Mallya’s lawyer to lay out her oral arguments, with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the Indian government set to counter on Wednesday.
A verdict may be handed down at the end of the hearing on Thursday, but judgment could be delayed to a later date depending on how the hearing progresses.
Representatives from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were present in court as Montgomery once again sought to raise questions over whether the CBI behaved “properly in bringing charges” against Vijay Mallya under former Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who she said may have been guilty of “misconduct”.