Probe agencies will respond to Vijay Mallya's allegations

Probe agencies are preparing answers to questions raised by Vijay Mallya in his defence affidavit against charges of money laundering and criminal conspiracy and seeking his extradition.

 

Sources said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) are in the final stages of compiling the reply to the defence that Mallya submitted in a London court to avoid extradition to India.

 

In the 25-page defence evidence affidavit, which was served to the UK Crown Prosecution Service, Mallya is learnt to have alleged that his was a case of “political vendetta” and “loss-making business”.

 

He also expressed serious concerns about the quality of prisons in India being below par and cited Abu Salem’s extradition case. According to Mallya, Indian agencies had twisted certain clauses in that case.

 

The Indian authorities have been asked to file a reply in the UK court in London to the affidavit before November 3.

 

“The issues Mallya raised have nothing to do with the charges against him,” said a senior investigative officer privy to the extradition case. According to him, the Indian authorities would not address these concerns and may send generic responses. The response would mention that the case was not politically driven or motivated.

 

Sources said that Mallya had cited some political names allegedly responsible for the Kingfisher Airlines debacle. Further, he has also said that human rights were often being violated in Indian prisons. To support his concerns, he had highlighted the views of four different foreign-based independent counsels, who are domain experts, and shared their views in individual capacity.

 

“Among his key strategies is to convince the UK courts that his offence is not criminal but civil in nature,” the official said.

 

The contents of this affidavit have been kept secret by the London court. “The judge has refused to share any papers related to the affidavit with anyone except state authorities,” said the officer.

 

India is pursuing the extradition case against Mallya with the UK government after investigations by the CBI and the ED charged him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

 

The pre-trial review on the extradition case will be held on November 20 in London. On October 4, the UK Crown Prosecution Service, on behalf of India, filed a supplemental affidavit in connection with money laundering charges of the Rs 950 crore loan default to IDBI Bank.

 

Based on this, Mallya was re-arrested and granted bail till December 4, when the extradition hearing is scheduled to commence. Mallya was first arrested and produced before the court in London on April 18 for extradition hearings and was later granted conditional bail.

 

The CBI has been investigating loans granted by IDBI Bank to Kingfisher Airlines in 2010 and has secured a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in a case related to alleged money laundering and wilful default of loans.

 

Simultaneously, the ED is also probing the alleged diversion of the same loan to front companies. The Kingfisher Airlines default on the Rs 6,963 crore loan is being investigated by the CBI separately. An additional chargesheet in the case is expected soon.