No evidence to support case of fraud against Mallya: Defence

Vijay Mallya fighting extradition
Vijay Mallya fighting extradition

On Tuesday Vijay Mallya’s defence team argued that there was no evidence to support the case of fraud presented against him by the government of India as the liquor baron returned to court on second day of his extradition trial.

On the opening day of the trial, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, had asserted that the embattled liquor baron had a ” case of fraud” to answer.

Mallya who is wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting of around Rs 9,000 crores (billion), was in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for his defence, headed by barrister Clare Montgomery.

Mallya was arrested by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant in April this year and has been out on bail on a bond worth 650,000 pounds.

Montgomery opened her arguments by stating that there was no evidence to support the case of fraud.

She also added that the government does not have a valid case to support the argument that the money borrowed by Mallya was fraudulent and he had no intentions to pay back the loans he sought because his profit projections for loss-making Kingfisher Airlines were unreliable.

Montgomery also claimed that the evidence presented by the CPS, the Indian government, to prove a case of fraud amounted to “zero”, which she said was a “critical failing on the part of government of India”.

“The reality is that the profitability of an airline depends on economic factors, which are largely cyclical and largely out of the control of the airline itself,” she said.

Summers told the court that the Indian government says there are reasons why a court can conclude that the bank loans at the centre of the fraud case were ones the “defendant (Mallya) never intended to repay”.

The CPS had earlier admitted that there may have been “irregularities” in the internal processes of the banks sanctioning some of those loans but that would be a question to be dealt with at a later stage in India.

“The focus of our case will be on Mallya’s conduct and how he misled the bank and misused the proceeds,” Summers said, as he presented a detailed chronology of events with specific focus on a loan sought by Kingfisher Airlines from IDBI bank in November 2009.

His trial is scheduled to end on December 14, with Wednesday and Friday marked as non-sitting days.