A UK judge hearing the extradition plea of India against the liquor baron Vijay Mallya has directed the Indian government to produce the video of the prison, where the billionaire businessman will be kept after he is brought to India.
Chief Magistrate at Westminster Magistrates Court Judge Emma Arbuthnot asked for a video of someone going into Barrack 12 of Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai ‘for the avoidance of doubt.’ The Crown Prosecution Service agreed to provide a video taken at midday of lighting of Barrack 12 to satisfy the judge’s concerns around natural light in the prison.
This led to the judge to adjourn the hearing till 12 September. Mallya will be on bail until then.
Mallya’s defence team, headed by barrister Clare Montgomery, submitted further written material from UK-based prisons expert Dr Alan Mitchell, challenging some of the photographs of Barrack 12 of Mumbai Central Prison on Arthur Road, where Mallya is to be held if he is extradited from the UK, reported PTI.
The CPS team, led by barrister Mark Summers, dismissed the additional material as an “attempt to criticise” the information provided by the Indian authorities.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.
On Tuesday, when he arrived in the court, he was accompanied by his son Siddharth. He told reporters, “At the end of the day, the courts will decide.”
At the last hearing in the case on 27 April, the Central Bureau of Investigation had received a boost in the case as Judge Arbuthnot confirmed that the bulk of the evidence submitted by the Indian authorities will be admissible in the case.
In the separate extradition proceedings, 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.
Not so long ago, the ruling BJP in India had reacted angrily after Mallya shared a tweet by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who was highlighting the hypocrisy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of black money.
In March this year, it was revealed how Mallya was going to get married to one Pinky Lalwani, who worked as an air hostess in Kingfisher Airlines, owned by Mallya previously.