Liquor baron Vijay Mallya has reached the Westminster Magistrates Court in London for hearing in his extradition case during which the judge will review the condition of the Mumbai jail cell that has been prepared by the Indian authorities to imprison the fugitive businessman.
The judge will be watching a video showing the condition of the prison cell after Mallya's defence team had demanded an inspection of the jail cell to ensure it meets the UK's human rights obligations related to extradition proceedings in the previous hearing of the case.
Before heading to his hearing, the businessman told reporters outside the court that he had offered a "comprehensive" settlement. "I have made a comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court in India and hope the honourable judges will consider it favourably. Everybody gets paid off and I guess that's the primary objective," Mallya said.
"Obviously, that is why a settlement offer has been made. The hearing is on 18th September, " he said when asked if he has convinced the court that he has the means to pay what he had promised.
Mallya is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to Rs 9,000 crores. He has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in UK in April 2017.
In July, Judge Emma Arbuthnot of the Westminster Magistrates' Court had asked Indian authorities to submit a "step by step video" of the Barrack 12 of Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail for "the avoidance of doubt" over the availability of natural light in the cell where the businessman will have to stay before his trial begins, during the course of the trial and in the event he is convicted by Indian courts.
Following Arbuthnot's request, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, had agreed to submit a video of the cell to the court. The court is also expected to hear the final closing arguments in the case, after which a timeline for its ruling would become clearer.
The extradition trial, which began on December 4, 2017, aimed at laying out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya. The trial seeks to prove there are no "bars to extradition" and that the tycoon is assured a fair trial in India over his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines' alleged default of over Rs 9,000 crores in loans from a consortium of Indian banks.
The Indian Prosecution has, in the past, argued that the evidence submitted by them clearly establishes "dishonesty" on the part of the businessman and that there are no bars to him being extradited from the UK to face Indian courts.
On the other hand, Mallya's defence team has deposed a series of expert witnesses to claim he had no "fraudulent" intentions and that he is unlikely to get a fair trial in India.
(With inputs from PTI)