Extradition trial hearing inconclusive, Mallya on bail till April 2


London: Embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya, wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering allegedly amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore, appeared in court here for his extradition trial but the hearing was inconclusive as the defence is yet to complete its arguments.
The 62-year-old was back in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London as his defence team sought to argue against the admissibility of much of the evidence presented by the Indian government.
Today's hearing was expected to be one of the final hearings in the case but it remained inconclusive as the defence is yet to complete its arguments, which seek to demolish the Indian government's case.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, is then set to respond and argue in favour of the evidence and against the defence's claim of "absence of a strong prima facie case on grounds of iniquity".
Due to prior diary commitments, no date has been set for the next hearing on the matter and Mallya has been bailed until April 2. Both sides will determine a date to return to court to complete their representations on the admissibility of evidence in the case within the next three weeks.
During today's hearing, Mallya's barrister, Clare Montgomery, argued that evidence that was claimed as a "blueprint of dishonesty" by the CPS was in fact a privileged conversation between Mallya and his lawyer about "legal advice in clear contemplation of litigation" and hence should be inadmissible.
On a separate category of evidence presented by the Indian government, Montgomery questioned the reliability of investigating officers in the case.
She pointed to over 150 pages of "near identical material" purporting to be statement of witnesses taken under Section 161 of the Indian CrPC.