Embattled business tycoon Vijay Mallya resisted and called all charges against him false as he arrived at a London court for an extradition hearing. The court granted him bail till December 4, and set July 6 as the next hearing date for the case. Speaking with reporters outside the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, Mallya said, “I deny all allegations against me. I have not eluded the court, I have enough evidence to prove that I am not guilty.”
A visibly smug Mallya appeared out of the court following the hearing, and said he would make his submission before the appropriate court. When a reporter asked about the “billion pounds” he was accused of fleecing, the Kingfisher tycoon replied, “You can keep dreaming about a billion pounds; you don't know the facts so don't ask irrelevant questions.”
The 61 year old who came to the court with his son Siddharth, was arrested by the UK police in April following India's request for extradition. His lawyer Ben Watson informed the court that India is now preparing a second extradition request with further separate charges. Mallya has been in the UK since March last year, and was arrested by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant on April 18. He was, however, quickly released after furnishing a bail bond worth £650,000 and assuring the court of abiding by all conditions associated with extradition proceedings, such as the surrender of his passport and a ban on him possessing any travel documents.
Britain's Crown Prosecution Service will present the case in court on behalf of the Indian authorities. Mallya's defence team is being led by Joseph Hague Aaronson LLP. They have instructed barrister Clare Montgomery, a specialist in criminal, regulatory and fraud law, to argue in court on their behalf.
Booed at the Oval
Vijay Mallya was being booed and jeered by Indian fans at Oval as he walked in to watch the India-South Africa game at the Oval on Sunday. Cries of “chor, chor, chindi chor” and “Vijay Mallya chor hai” rent the air the moment Mallya was spotted. Even son Siddharth was not spared, being greeted with cries of “chor ka beta chor”! Mallya, on the run from Indian authorities and out on bail here, has been in the thick of controversy for attending India's cricket matches and official functions. Such incidents, however, seem to make him more determined to be seen around Team India, and he is expected to be in Birmingham for the semi-final.
The Indian government have been trying for Mallya's extradition. The former UB group chief fled the country last year and has unpaid debts close to the tune of £900 million taken as loans from various Indian banks.
Mallya's presence makes Team India squirm
Earlier, Mallya also turned up at Virat Kohli's charity ball at the Honourable Artillery Company grounds in London. Sources said that his presence made the Indian team uncomfortable. There was minimal interaction with the fugitive businessman, the former owner of the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL team. The charity dinner, organized to raise funds to better tackle human trafficking, was hosted by commentator Alan Wilkins, who first called up Virat Kohli, Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar for a chat before inviting Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh for a `town-hall' style interaction.
Mallya was spotted arriving at the ball in a Rolls Royce, and sources close to the team indicated Virat Kohli and Co had no idea he had bought a table, or was among the invitees. “His presence creates an uncomfortable situation for the cricketers,” said a source. Mallya had earlier caused a media sensation in Birmingham by attending the India-Pakistan game, and then tweeted: “I intend to attend all games to cheer the Indian team.” His continued presence at such events is likely to be perceived as a nose-thumping gesture towards Indian authorities, who have filed an extradition request. In fact, in a similar case a year ago, the then high commissioner of India, Navtej Sarna, walked out of a book launch event at the London School of Economics when he saw Mallya in the gathering.