LONDON (AP) — The extradition hearing for Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya, sought by India on money-laundering allegations, has been extended until January when a session on what evidence meets legal guidelines will be held.
The Indian government’s case was completed Dec. 13 at Westminster Magistrates Court with a focus on the prison conditions the 61-year-old entrepreneur would face if sent back to India to be put on trial.
But the two sides are still presenting arguments over what evidence can be considered before Judge Emma Arbuthnot delivers a verdict. A hearing on evidence is scheduled for Jan. 10, and the judge is expected to take some time after that to reach a decision in the complex case.
The judge allowed Mallya to remain free on bail over the holidays.
Asked how he felt the testimony had gone over the past two weeks, Mallya said: “I’m not saying anything until this is over.”
He has earlier denied wrongdoing; his lawyers say he is the victim of a political plot.
The Indian government seeks the 61-year-old entrepreneur’s extradition to face money-laundering and conspiracy allegations.
He is fighting to remain in Britain — which he calls his second home — and will be able to appeal if the judge rules against him.
Mallya was once one of the wealthiest people in India with control of Kingfisher Airlines and other major businesses. He was also a prominent member of parliament before he resigned when he was about to be expelled.
The government says he borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars he knew he would never be able to repay.
The Indian government told the judge that Mallya would be held in a relatively spacious cell in a special part of Mumbai Central Prison if he is sent back to answer the allegations against him.
Mark Summers, working with Indian prosecutors, said Mallya — who suffers from diabetes, coronary artery disease and a sleep disorder — would have a clean cell and access to medical care and also would be given ample time to exercise.
But witness Alan Mitchell, Her Majesty’s Prison Inspector for Scotland and an expert in international prison conditions, said he was not convinced there would be enough natural light in the cell.
“I’m not reassured by it,” he said of government photographs of what the cell would look like. He also said there didn’t seem to be enough doctors and nurses.
Mallya seemed unruffled even when Mitchell described some Indian prisons as “pathetic” and infested with rats, cockroaches and snakes.