Liquor baron Vijay Mallya was back at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday for the second day of his High Court appeal against extradition to India, during which his lawyers argued against any prima facie case of fraud and money laundering against him.
While speaking to the media outside the court, he was asked about the verdict expected and he said, "I don't know. I have no clue. Let's not get into speculations. You are going to be there and hear everything. You are intelligent. Let's hear the arguments."
Lord Justice Stephen Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing, the two-member bench hearing the appeal, confirmed at the start that they would not be handing down their verdict immediately after the hearing, scheduled until Thursday.
Mallya’s barrister, Claire Montgomery, reiterated the central defence that there had been no misrepresentation or fraud on the part of her client and that Kingfisher Airlines was the victim of economic misfortune alongside other airlines.
"The airline industry is littered with examples of struggling airlines being supported for strategic reasons," said Montgomery.
She has focussed her arguments on trying to establish “multiple errors” in Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot's verdict in favour of her client's extradition in December 2018 and revisited a series of bank statements and balance sheets provided to Indian banks to seek loans as proof of full disclosure.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), appearing in court on behalf of the Indian government, is set to counter the defence arguments later on Wednesday, mostly as a supplement to already submitted written arguments.
Mallya had filed an appeal against the Westminster magistrates court’s 2018 ruling which had cleared his extradition to India to face fraud and money laundering charges amounting to Rs 9,000 crore. On Tuesday, his defence team maintained that there is no prima facie case against him in India to justify the extradition as against Indian government's stand of major financial offences against Mallya.
His lawyers have challenged the Westminster magistrates court's ruling stating that there were multiple errors while understanding the documents in the court's judgment.