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International News
UK judge takes dig at India’s delay in giving proof in Vijay Mallya case
 
(LONDON, June 13,2017):The court hearing to decide whether fugitive billionaire Vijay Mallya will be extradited back to India has been pushed back to December — and may not even happen till next year.

Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot at Westminster magistrates' court noted December 4 for a two-week hearing on Tuesday after she heard there were delays in evidence arriving from the government of India.

Aaron Watkins, representing India, said the Crown Prosecution Service needed a further three-four weeks to receive the rest of the evidence from India and to review it. Arbuthnot asked, "Are Indians normally very prompt in their responses? They have taken six months so far and we haven't got any further forward in the past 6 weeks."

Noting December 4 for a two-week hearing on the Vijay Mallya extradition case, chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said, "If there is still no sign of the evidence, then April 2018 is a possibility (for the full hearing). If we have everything, then it may look like December." Watkins said there was a close working relationship with India on the case and the material received was "not insubstantial".

The flamboyant businessman was remanded on conditional bail until December 4. July 6 is the next case management hearing. It's the equivalent of Tuesday's hearing, and it's when the court will see if all the evidence has been admitted. Mallya has been told he does not have to attend the July 6 hearing.

Mallya, 61, later told reporters, "I deny all allegations that have been made and I will continue to deny them. Claiming no loans were ever diverted, he said, "You can keep dreaming about a billion pounds; you cannot prove anything without facts."

Ben Watson, acting for Mallya, said: "We have not yet received the final evidence from the government of India." He added that the evidence had been requested six weeks ago. "This began on January 31 and it's now June and we still don't have the case," he said, pushing for the hearing to be postponed till spring 2018.

"There has also been a second extradition request which we have not yet seen which adds to the uncertainty of this," Watson added. Replying to this, the Crown Prosecution told TOI: "There is no second extradition request. The defence asked about a second request that they believe the Indian government may submit, but at present there is nothing concrete to consider."

Watson said that Mallya had faced a "battle" to enter the court building and "cameras were thrust In his face" and requested for physical barriers to be put up at the next hearing Mallya attended to "protect him from the press."

The chief magistrate gave permission for Mallya to not attend the next case management hearing on July 11 at 2pm.

Dressed in white openneck shirt, flaunting a gold chain, grey trousers, a navy blue blazer and black shoes, Mallya's tanned face looked stressed and tired and he had bags under his eyes. He looked alternately at the packed press gallery, the judge and his counsel. He spoke in a confident voice to confirm his name and date of birth.

Despite constantly criticising the Indian media, outside the court room Mallya could not stop himself speaking to them. Asked how he was, he replied: "Cheering for the Indian cricket team to great controversy." Asked, "Do you feel confident?" he said, "We will see."

"Why do you dislike this tribe (the media)?" "I am more disliked than anything I dislike or like," he said. Still annoyed about the boos of 'chor' during the India-South Africa cricket match, he continued: "I show up at the cricket match to cheer on my team and it becomes a media sensation.

What can I do? There is no guarantee that anything I say will be reported the way I say it. The media sensationalises everything. I can't keep repeating myself everywhere and putting the correct facts forward, so I keep quiet." He added he would be attending the India-Bangladesh Champions Trophy semifinal on Thursday.

The chairman of UB Group, which brews Kingfisher Beer and is co-owner of the Sahara Force India Formula One racing team, is accused of defaulting on loans of more than Rs 9,000 crore after Kingfisher Airlines, which he founded, collapsed in 2012 following years of losses. He is also accused of money laundering, fraudulently obtaining credit and other financial crimes.


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