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Hearing will continue till December 14

The extradition hearing against liquor baron Vijay Mallya began in the court of Chief Magistrate at Westminster in London on Monday with a last minute hiccup due to sudden fire alarm beeps causing evacuation of the court premises.

There was anxiety in the atmosphere for half an hour, until alarm was finally turned off. A large crowd has gathered in front of the court for the much-awaited hearing.

Barrister Mark Summers who opened argument on behalf of Indian government provided chronology of loan applications saying how Mallya dealt with banks and his conduct thereafter. He said that bankers’ role was relevant because loan sanction was in breach of bank rules. Mallya was seen sitting calmly in the dock after court reopened.

On November 20, the court had fixed eight day pre-trial hearing beginning from Monday which will till December 14, with December 8 marked as non-sitting day.

On that day, Vijay Mallya said that he has repeatedly stressed that he has done nothing wrong and let the evidence speak in court. He was quoted saying, “It will all become clear in court.”

The Crown Prosecution Service, which is arguing on behalf of the Indian government, had, on October 3, presented additional “supplemental” charges of money laundering to the previous charges of fraud.

During the eight-day long hearing Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot will hear Barrister Mark Summers on behalf of Indian government and Lawyer Clare Montgomery on behalf of Vijay Mallya. Both are Queens Counselors from the well-known Matrix Chambers.

A four member team of CBI officials and a team from Enforcement Directorate were also present during the hearing.

The 61 year old Mallya has been in self-exile in UK since March 2016. He is wanted in India on charges relating to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines defaulting loans from various banks amounting to rupees 9,000 crore.

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