South Asian Insider
Vijay Mallya extradition: Overwhelming evidence of fraud, India tells UK court
The now defunct Kingfisher Airlines owned by controversial businessman Vijay Mallya "knowingly misrepresented" its profitability while seeking bank loans in 2009, India submitted in the high court of England and Wales hearing his extradition appeal on Wednesday.
Besides, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of India insisted that there is "overwhelming" evidence of fraud and deception on the part of Mallya and his airlines, whose legal team mounted a forensic challenge to the Westminster Magistrates Court's 2018 judgement that cleared his extradition to India face charges of major financial offences.
Mark Summers, CPS lawyer, reminded Justice Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing of the high court of England and Wales that in extradition cases, British courts are solely required to establish whether the person requested has a prima facie case to answer, not to establish the truth.To that extent, he argued, the magistrates court had taken into account all relevant evidence and had ruled that Mallya had a prima facie case to answer and that he needed to be extradited to India to face trial. "There was concealment of material while seeking loans from IDBI. Funds were disbursed contrary to the purposes the loans were given...Kingfisher Airlines was knowingly misrepresenting its profitability", Summers said, seeking to counter specific arguments of Mallya's team by citing business plans, "optimistic" projections and brand evaluation by consultants Grant Thornton and others.
India's case rests on what was mentioned in the lower court as "three chapters of dishonesty" by Mallya-misrepresentations to various banks to acquire loans, the misuse of the loans and his conduct after the banks recalled the loans. Mallya's lawyer, Claire Montgomery, on Wednesday morning continued her forensic arguments against the magistrates court's judgement. The case, she said, is "dense", involving thousands of documents, mentioning dates, internal emails and figures ti substantiate the appeal.
According to her, judge Emma Arbuthnot of the magistrates court had made "multiple errors" after misunderstanding accounts and other documents related to IDBI, SBI and Kingfisher Airlines (KFA). "She is confused, it is nonsense to come to the conclusions she did on accounts and loss of KFA...The judge got it wrong on figures", she insisted. Summers refuted her contention that several witness statements were inadmissible. The appeal hearing will continue on its last day on Thursday, with Summers setting out further arguments in support of India's charges against Mallya. The judgement is expected next week.
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