London, September 14:
Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya’s defense team faced criticism over the means by which they submitted the first tranche of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, which is seeking Mallya’s extradition on behalf of the Indian authorities.
Speaking for the CPS, barrister Mark Summers expressed disappointment that the evidence had been submitted in physical rather than electronic form: in a box, which the CPS had had to devote resources to scanning.
“We are disappointed to get a physical box with nothing electronically….it has cost us a week,” he told Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, who also agreed that it was “slightly unfortunate in 2017”, that evidence was not submitted electronically as well. The defense team requested the CPS to share the electronic version of its own evidence with itself and the judge.
Summers said it was too early to gauge whether further time will be required as a result of this delay. A further hearing on the submission of evidence is due to take place on November 20, with the main two-week trial due to commence on December 4.
Since the last hearing in July, the prosecution, as requested by the judge, Indian authorities, via the CPS have submitted a 30-page summary “position statement” of the case against Mallya, and the defense have submitted four out of six expected reports. Defense barrister Ben Watson also provided details of individuals who had or would be providing testimony on behalf of Mallya including an airline expert, a banking expert, a legal expert, and an Indian lawyer.
It also emerged that India had submitted detailed evidence, electronically, including with pictures of the prison that Mallya would potentially be held in, to satisfy the routine request in extradition requests in Britain to clarify prison conditions in the country requesting the extradition. “There is a very detailed assurance with photographs,” said Summers.
Thursday’s hearing was the first one not attended by Mallya in person, even though there was no requirement for him to attend the most recent hearings until December.
A female family member attended. Mallya remains on bail till the December 4 hearing.
(This article was published on September 14, 2017)