Evidence will prove I'm innocent, claims Mallya
Vijay Mallya, the embattled tycoon wanted in India on loan defaults to several banks amounting to nearly Rs 9,000-crore, on Tuesday claimed he has "enough evidence" to plead his case and dared the prosecution to prove that he has committed fraud.
"I deny all allegations that have been made and I will continue to deny them," said the 61-year-old flamboyant boss of erstwhile Kingfisher airlines who appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court here for his extradition case hearing.
Chief Magistrate Emma Louise Arbuthnot granted bail to Mallya until December 4. The next hearing has been set for July 6.
"I have not eluded any court...I have enough evidence to prove my case," Mallya told reporters outside the court.
"I don't make statements to the media because anything I say is twisted. There is enough evidence, that will speak."
He also claimed that no loans were diverted anywhere.
"You can keep dreaming about a billion pounds; you cannot prove anything without facts," Mallya said.
His defence team, which is being led by the firm Joseph Hague Aaronson LLP, said a second extradition request is expected from the Indian government.
Britain s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) presented the case in court on behalf of the Indian authorities. The CPS had met a joint team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in London last month to thrash out details of the case. A CBI official has also flown in from Delhi for the hearing today.
"Our aim is to build a strong, infallible case and these meetings will help resolve issues across the table. The CPS will be arguing based on documents provided by CBI and ED, therefore a joint team is here to address queries they may have," official sources had said after the meeting held in early May.
Mallya has requested that the press be barred from the court hearing in his next appearance.
"I go to cheer India in a cricket match and it becomes a media frenzy. It's better I don't say anything," he said, adding two people, in a drunken state, called him a "thief" outside the stadium. "There were many who wished me well."
Last week, Mallya was welcomed with chants of "chor, chor" by Indian cricket fans as he arrived to watch the India vs South Africa Champions Trophy match at The Oval cricket ground in London.