New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) The CBI on Friday said it did not delay forwarding to British authorities evidence for extradition of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, charged with money laundering in an about Rs 900-crore IDBI Bank loan default involving his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines (KFA).
The agency’s reaction came in the wake of reports that there was a delay from India in sharing Mallya’s case documents with British authorities.
In a statement, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) clarified that the documents related to extradition of Mallya, who has been in London since March 2016, were sent to British authorities in February this year while supporting documents were handed over to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) much before the Tuesday (June 13) hearing in the case.
The CBI statement also said the hearing on June 13 was for Case Management Review to determine further steps to be taken up in the case and to draw a timetable for extradition proceedings and that it was not a hearing for extradition.
Maintaining that there was no delay “whatsoever”, the agency said the evidence like extradition dossier, chargesheet, non-bailable warrant, sworn affidavit of a CBI Superintendent of Police, accompanied the request for extradition of Mallya in February and the additional documents were handed over to the CPS on May 2 and May 3.
“The additional evidence like supplementary chargesheet (forwarded to a Mumbai court on June 2) of Rs 900 crore fraud case, evidence containing falsities, misstatements and false representations by Mallya was forwarded through diplomatic channels before the hearing on June 13.”
The CBI also made it clear that the British court had not criticised India’s extradition request during the hearing.
“During the hearing on June 13, when the counsel of fugitive Mallya sought a date in March-April 2018, Aaron Watkins of CPS opposed the same.”
“To justify a later date, the defence counsel raised the issue of delay, which is nothing but a figment of his imagination. The specialist prosecutor of CPS confirmed that during the proceedings on June 13, there was no criticism of the extradition request or of the Indian government. Senior district judge fixed next case management hearing on July 6 when the dates for extradition hearing will be decided,” the CBI statement said.
It said that the request for extradition of Mallya was forwarded on February 9 to the British authorities through diplomatic channels.
“The Secretary of State, UK, certified the request and sent it to the Court. The Court after satisfying itself, issued an arrest warrant and Mallya was arrested in London on April 18 morning. Following the arrest, Mallya appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 18 and was granted conditional bail.”
“The same day, the prosecutors of CPS sought a meeting with officers of CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED). Accordingly, a joint CBI and ED team led by Rakesh Asthana (Additional Director CBI) visited London during May 2 and 3 and provided all the additional documents sought and also answered the queries raised,” the statement said.
In March 2016, the ED had registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Kingfisher Airlines in the IDBI bank loan default case.
Mallya’s company also owes around Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of 17 Indian banks. The loan default cases are being probed by the ED and the CBI.