Here’s Why Mallya’s Lawyer Cited Aarushi Case in a UK Court

Has CBI botched Vijay Mallya’s case in the UK court?

Updated
India
3 min read
<span data-offset-key="7rr8a-0-0" style="white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span data-text="true" style="">Do the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder and the Vijay Mallya cases have anything in common?</span></span>
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Vijay Mallya’s lawyer, at a UK court, raked up the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder to highlight what she alleged was incompetence on part of the Central Bureau of Investigation, CBI sources told The Quint.

Clare Montgomery, defence lawyer to the liquor baron, made the comments before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London in December, which is hearing the Indian government’s plea to extradite Mallya. If extradited, Mallya will face money laundering allegations worth Rs 9,000 crores.

According to CBI sources, the defence lawyer cited acquittal of the parents in the murder case of Aarushi Talwar to allege shoddy investigation. The lawyer said the agency also threatened witnesses in the Talwars case to get a favourable statement from them.

When asked to react, CBI representatives said: “It is hereby informed that CBI has no comments to offer in the matter as the case is sub judice”.

CBI Evidence is ‘Inadmissible’: Mallya’s Lawyer

According to CBI sources, Mallya’s defence lawyer also raised questions on statements recorded by the investigating officer in Mallya’s money laundering case. It was pointed out to the UK court that all the material evidence recorded by the CBI is under Section 161 of the CrPC and therefore, not admissible in the Indian court. By natural corollary, the lawyer asked to know how the same evidence could then be admissible in a UK court.

According to sources, the defence lawyer stated:

The statements were not signed by the witnesses in concern, nor were they supported with any underlying material and same appeared to be false.  

CBI sources told The Quint that the statement of these witnesses was not required to be recorded before the Magistrate or under Section 164 CrPC. The sources added that these witnesses are bank officials, who were primarily questioned on the minutes of meetings and related questions. They were merely confirming undisputed documentary evidence and their statements would stand cross-examination in any court, sources said.

CBI sources also told The Quint that Mallya’s lawyer described the poor condition of Indian jails as another point against Mallya’s extradition.

The development gains significance in the light of the recent setbacks that the CBI has faced in two high-profile cases. In the 2G spectrum case, all the alleged accused, including former Union Minister A Raja, and Member of Parliament N Kanimozhi, were acquitted, along with 16 others.

In the AgustaWestland case, an Italian court acquitted two top executives of Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini. The acquittal could undermine the CBI’s evidence against former Indian Air Force chief SC Tyagi and others as the agency reportedly relied heavily upon evidence presented before the Italian court.

All eyes are on the CBI as the Mallya case enters the final stage of hearing in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Will the agency succeed in extraditing ‘the king of good times’?

(We Indians have much to talk about these days. But what would you tell India if you had the chance? Pick up the phone and write or record your Letter To India. Don’t be silent, tell her how you feel. Mail us your letter at lettertoindia@thequint.com. We’ll make sure India gets your message.)

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