Vijay Mallya's bail extended till April 2, concerns raised over reliability of evidence

Vijay Mallya has been on a self-imposed exile in the UK since he left India on March 2, 2016. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 12, 2018, 12.49 AM (IST)

The Westminster magistrates' court in London on Thursday decided to extend liquor baron Vijay Mallya's bail till April 2 in association with his extradition case. 

The bail raised concerns over the reliability of evidence provided by India. Judge Emma Arbuthnot has extended Mallya's £650,000 bail. 

Mallya was accompanied by his wife Pinky Lalwani and his son Siddharth Mallya. 

Questions were raised over Mallya's admissibility, reliability and evidentiary value of documents submitted by India, in particular, the statements submitted by a wide array of witnesses such as banking officials.

"Many of the documents that the Indian government relies on are unsubstantiated assertions which have been proven to be unreliable or false while others are hearsay or narrative accounts or statements made ex-post facto", Mallya's defence counsel Clare Montgomery said.

It was also brought to notice that there were no supporting documents in relation to the IDBI Bank case, which is the main axis on which the extradition trial hinges.

"Some of these statements not only had the same words by the same typos. For example, there are similar anomalies in witness statements made by different individuals weeks apart", Montgomery said, prompting laughter in the court, much to the discomfiture of representatives of the Indian government.

"Much evidence suggests that officers, in this case, have not behaved in a reliable manner. For instance, they have completely failed to reveal to the court the background of how the lending was approved by various banks, have submitted misleading statements, pro-forma statements and statements that were false", Montgomery said.

She also pointed to a number of Indian law commission reports that have "unanimously" agreed that investigators often "project" their biases on to witnesses. 

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, has been asked to revert to the court by January 22. 

Also read: Indian jails overcrowded with poor hygiene: Mallya's defence lawyer

The Delhi court on January 4 had declared beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya a proclaimed offender for evading summons in a FERA violation case.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Shehrawat passed the order after noting that Mallya failed to appear before it despite repeated summons.

Mallya, who is undergoing an extradition trial over Rs 9,000-crore fraud and money laundering charges, will face a parallel litigation brought by 13 Indian banks to freeze nearly $1.5 billion of his assets.

(With inputs from ANI)