Vijay Mallya arrives at UK court for extradition trial

Vijay Mallya arrives at UK court for extradition trial
Industrialist Vijay Mallya arrived at the Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday for the opening day of his extradition trial.

The 61-year-old tycoon looked relaxed as he was greeted by a swarm of cameras and reporters when he entered the court to stand trial on charges of fraud and money laundering related to his erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines owing several Indian banks around Rs 9,000 crore.

"Please hear the proceedings," Mallya told reporters outside the courtroom.

However, the trial opening was delayed as the courtroom had to be evacuated due to a fire alarm going off.

Mallya, who has been out on bail since Scotland Yard executed an extradition warrant in April, will be in the dock for the duration of the trial scheduled to end on December 14.

A judgement in the case, being presided over by Judge Emma Louise Arbuthnot, is unlikely until early next year.

Mallya's defence team is led by barrister Clare Montgomery, known as an expert in criminal and fraud law with the UK's Matrix Chambers.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will be arguing on behalf of the Indian government, led by barrister Mark Summers.

The CPS will need to demonstrate a prima facie case by producing evidence to show that the criminal charges against Mallya are justified and that he should be extradited to face the Indian courts.

Prison conditions in India are expected to be at the forefront during the hearing, with the Indian government providing assurances of protection of Mallya's human rights.

The tycoon has been on a self-imposed exile in the UK since he left India on March 2, 2016.

While on strict bail conditions, which include providing a bail bond worth 6,50,000 pounds, surrender of his passport and a ban on possessing any travel documents, the former Rajya Sabha member has been based at his Hertfordshire estate Ladywalk in the village of Tewin, around 30 miles from London.

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