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No Fear No Favour

“You’re the only one to be blamed,” UK court to Indian banks while hearing Vijay Mallya case

In what is seen as a major embarrassment for the Indian agencies probing Vijay Mallya case, a London court has blamed Indian banks for not being vigilant enough while sanctioning loans to him. The Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, hearing the extradition case of fugitive Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya has raised some serious question on the conduct of the Indian banks in sanctioning loans to Kingfisher Airlines.

“There are clear signs that the banks seem to have gone against their own guidelines [in sanctioning some of the loans],” Judge Emma Arbuthnot said, “inviting” the Indian authorities to explain the case against some of the bank officials involved because that relates to the “conspiracy” point against Mallya.

She described the case as a “jigsaw puzzle” with different pieces of “massive evidence” to be put together to paint a picture.

The extradition trial, which opened at the London court on December 4, is aimed at laying out a prima facie case of fraud against the tycoon, who has been based in the UK since he left India in March 2016. It also seeks to prove that there are no “bars to extradition” and that Mallya is assured a fair trial in India over his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines’ alleged default of loans from a consortium of Indian banks.

Mallya, who faces multiple charges of fraud in India was arrested by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant in April 2017 and has been out on bail on a bond worth 650,000 pounds. Chief Magistrate Arbuthnot is expected to pronounce her verdict in the case by May this year.

If she rules in favour of the Indian government, the UK home secretary will have two months to sign Mallya’s extradition order.

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