The full extradition case against liquor baron Vijay Mallya is set to start this December, after his defence team pushed for a hearing in the spring of 2018, on the grounds that it expected a second request for extradition to come from India, and to enable enough time for all the evidence to be gathered.
The date will be confirmed at another case management hearing due on July 6, which Mr. Mallya will not attend.
Mr. Mallya attended Tuesday’s hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, accompanied by his son.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom ahead of the hearing, he took issue with media coverage of the case, accusing it of sensationalism and bias.
Appearing for Mr. Mallya, barrister Ben Watson pushed for the full court proceedings to take place in February or March, arguing that the delays that had taken place to the presentation of evidence from India, and the potential of a second request introduced a level of uncertainty that made a later date a pragmatic option. An earlier date would allow no time slippage, he said.
However, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot settled on an earlier date in December, saying that India’s responses had been prompt, though allowing for the dates to be pushed back if necessary.
Speaking for the Crown Prosecution Service (which presented the case on behalf of Indian authorities) barrister Aaron Watkins of Matrix Chambers said there was a “good working relationship” with India on the case and that suggestions from the defence that there would be a further request was for now speculative. Proceedings should progress on the basis of the current request for extradition, unless and until a further request was made, he said.
The judge extended Mr. Mallya’s bail conditions until the hearing on December 4. Following his arrest in April, Mr. Mallya was released on a bail bond of £650,000. He will not have to appear on July 6, and the judge will consider the defence’s requests for barriers outside the court to protect Mr. Mallya from the waiting media, by which the defence said Mr. Mallya had been bombarded on Tuesday as he arrived at court.
Mr. Mallya is wanted in connection with a number of charges including defaulting on bank loans amounting to ₹9,000 crore. India launched formal proceedings earlier this year, but the process is likely to be drawn out, highlighting the complexities of extradition proceedings, which can involve requests for further information and assurances from India.
It was only last year that the first extradition of an individual from Britain to India took place, under a treaty that has been in existence since 1993.