Vijay Mallya to face second round of money laundering charges: UK lawyer
London: Fugitive Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya will face a second wave of criminal charges connected to money laundering in India, his lawyer said at a London hearing without giving any details. He appeared before the Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Thursday for the hearing in his extradition case.
“I do as my lawyers advise,” Mallya said when asked about his appearance at the court despite being exempt from appearing by the judge at the last hearing on 13 June.
“They can present whatever they want, we will respond,” Mallya said to reporters in regard to the new charges after a short hearing that fixed a two-week extradition trial to start on 4 December.
If the district judge rules in favour of extradition at the end of the trial, the UK home secretary must order Mallya’s extradition within two months of the appropriate day. However, the case can go through a series of appeals before arriving at a conclusion.
The 61-year-old was arrested in London 18 April on a warrant issued by Indian authorities accusing him of conspiring to defraud India’s IDBI Bank Ltd through a Rs9,100 crore loan to the now-grounded Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. He was released on £650,000 bail and ordered to surrender his passport.
“Dr. Mallya wishes to engage as constructively as possible with these proceedings,” Ben Watson, his lawyer, said in London Thursday.
Mallya left India a year ago, saying he was moving to England to be closer to his children. He has since refused to return to India and said he fears an unfair trial amid the “media frenzy and hysteria” over unpaid dues. Mallya has also said government agencies are pursuing a “heavily biased investigation” and holding him guilty without trial.
India and the UK have an Extradition Treaty, signed in 1992, but so far only one extradition has taken place under the arrangement—Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, who was sent back to India last October to face trial in connection with his involvement in the Godhra riots of 2002.