After a UK court asked Indian authorities to submit a video of the cell at the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where they plan to keep Vijay Mallya post-extradition, the Maharashtra prisons department contested the businessman's claims that there was no natural light or fresh air in Indian jails. Mallya appeared before the court in London where both, the defence and the prosecution presented clarifications on Barrack 12 at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where he is to be held. Judge Emma Arbuthnot, after hearing the arguments, asked Indian authorities to submit within three weeks a video of the Barrack 12 of the Arthur Road Jail and set September 12 as the date of the next hearing.
She asked Indian authorities to submit a “step by step video” of Barrack 12 for “the avoidance of doubt” over the availability of natural light in the cell where the 62 year old businessman is expected to be detained pre-trial, during trial and in the event he is convicted by the Indian courts. The judge said, “I would like a video of Barrack 12, to see where the windows are... shot maybe at mid-day with no artificial lighting.” After arriving in court, Mallya said the allegations against him were “false” and reiterated his offer to settle dues to the Karnataka High Court. “Now that the assets are before the court, I am in the hands of the court; I hope this will all end. At the end of the day, the courts will decide.”
His team, lead by Clare Montgomery, focused its objections on the lack of natural light available in Barrack 12 and claimed that the “government of India assurance cannot be relied upon. The photos show natural light flooding into the cell. But our assessment is that it is very difficult to work out where the light was coming from. Whatever the light is, is not natural light,” Montgomery said. While Mallya's defence team insisted on an inspection of the jail cell, the CPS stressed that the Indian government had provided “adequate material” which rendered the need for an inspection unnecessary.
Sources in the Maharashtra prisons department said that they would shoot a video according to the directives of the court and the Centre. “We have learnt that Judge Emma Arbuthnot has asked for a 'step by step video' of Barrack 12 for 'the avoidance of doubt' over the availability of natural light and ventilation in the cell where Mallya would be lodged both during the pretrial and also in the event of his conviction. We will shoot the video as per the court's directives and send it to the required authorities,” a senior official said.