London’s Westminster magistrate’s court will pronounce the verdict on extradition of absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya on December 10. The decision was taken by the court on Wednesday as the liquor baron appeared before the court.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airline boss, who has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.
This comes on a day when Mallya has triggered a row by saying that he had met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving India. Speaking to mediapersons outside the court, Mallya said, "I left because I had a scheduled meeting in Geneva. I met the Finance Minister before I left, repeated my offer to settle with the banks. That is the truth."
The Finance Minister, however, dismissed his claims calling them “factually false”. Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise," he wrote. But Mallya being a Member of Rajya Sabha, occasionally attended the House.
"He misused that privilege on one occasion while I was walking out of the House to go to my room. He paced up to catch up with me and while walking uttered a sentence that 'I am making an offer of settlement'.
"Having been fully briefed about his earlier 'bluff offers', without allowing him to proceed with the conversation, I curtly told him 'there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers'," Jaitley said. The Finance Minister said he did not even "receive" the papers that he was holding in his hand.
The extradition trial, which opened at the London court on December 4 last year, is aimed at laying out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya.
It also seeks to prove there are no "bars to extradition" and that the tycoon is assured a fair trial in India over his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines' alleged default of over Rs 9,000 crores in loans from a consortium of Indian banks.
(With agency inputs)