An official said that the problem with getting Indians extradited from the UK to India was the “overseas perception about prison conditions in India”. He said the government was confident of winning the case against Mallya in London as it has established a watertight case against him.
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LONDON: Fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya need not worry about conditions in Indian jails, which he has cited in the Westminster Magistrate's Court as a reason why he shouldn't be extradited to India, a senior Indian government official told TOI. Once in an Indian jail, Mallya will get facilities like a private toilet in his cell and home-cooked food, said the official.
Citing "torture in Indian jails", Mallya had informed the court that a woman convict, Manjula Shetye, was murdered by jail staff inside Byculla prison on June 23. Mallya had reportedly said that he feared for his life in an Indian jail in case he was sent back.
A top government official associated with Vijay Mallya's extradition case told TOI on Thursday that "nothing will happen to Mallya in jail" and there was no reason for him to worry. "Undertrial food in Indian jails is better," the official said, adding, "He could even have food brought from home as per the jail manual."
The official said that the problem with getting Indians extradited from the UK to India was the "overseas perception about prison conditions in India". "People think Indian prisons are hell. All the overseas media coverage is negative and we are trying to change that," he added.
The official said that Arthur Road jail in Mumbai had been fitted with a special cell for extradition cases, and one or two people had been put there so far. "He (Mallya) will have his own toilet and there will be a TV... Nothing will happen to Vijay Mallya in jail. The government will make sure of that," he said.
The official said the government was confident of winning the case against Mallya in London as it has established a watertight case against him. "We have established a prima facie case against Mallya under the Fraud Act 2006 in the UK, otherwise this hearing would not be happening. We sent our case to the UK home office and they decided there was a case. It was also passed to the Crown Prosecution Service extradition unit. We are confident we will win," the official said.
When questioned about defending barrister Clare Montgomery's assertions on Tuesday that much of the CBI evidence was inadmissible, the official said: "Montgomery is dramatising the case." He said that this was just a hearing to extradite Mallya to India — it was not his trial. He said there are two warrants out for Mallya's arrest (one from the CBI and one from the ED).
Mallya has been declared as a "proclaimed offender" and there is a third notice from the SC about contempt proceedings. "We believe he has committed offences under the Indian Penal Code," he said. He said once in India, Mallya would face a trial. It would be up to the special CBI court to decide whether he would be released on conditional bail, as he has been in the UK, or remanded in custody whilst waiting his trial.