Vijay Mallya’s Defence in UK Court: Indian Jails Over Crowded, Judicial System Biased
London, Dec 14: Vijay Mallya‘s defence on Thursday attacked India’s justice system saying that he will not get a fair trial. Mallya fielded a UK-based prison service expert and claimed that the jails in India are over-crowded with poor hygiene. The defence tried to argue that the conditions of unit no 12 of the Arthur Road jail are “far from satisfactory”.
Dr Alan Mitchell, a member of the European Council’s European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, said that the assurances that the Indian government has given were “satisfactory in nature”. “But adequate in the eyes of whom,” Mitchell questioned while giving evidence of an inspection visit to Alipore Jail in Kolkata and Puzhal Jail in Chennai. (Also Read: Vijay Mallya’s Arrest in London Pursuant to India’s Extradition Request)
Mitchell also recalled details of “open defecation, rats, cockroaches, and snakes in a prison cell in Chennai. “In one instance, he (telephone conversation with a prisoner) recalls the deputy superintendent of the jail beating a prisoner with a lathi, for what appeared to be no apparent reason,” Dr Mitchell said.
On Monday (December 11), Martin Lau, a professor of South Asian Law at SOAS in London, had claimed that some judges in India rule in favour of the government to win favour after retirements. (Also Read: Unit no 12 of Arthur Road Jail Good Enough For Vijay Mallya, Says Maharashtra Government)
“I hold the Supreme Court of India in the highest respect but at times some doubts are voiced about particular patterns…does not mean it is a corrupt institution. At times it rules in favour of the government, especially when judges are close to retirement and angling for government posts,” Martin Lau told the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
This came as a counter the Indian government’s assurances that he will get a fair trial in India if extradited to face fraud charges. The Maharashtra government had earlier assured the Centre that the unit no 12 of the Arthur Road jail is “good enough” for liquor baron Vijay Mallya. The government had added that the special unit has facilities Vijay Mallya will have in a European prison.
Mallya fled to Britain in March 2016 after being pursued for recovery of Rs 8,191 crore owed to a consortium of 17 Indian banks by his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines. The banks had been able to recover only Rs 155 crore. Despite multiple injunctions, Mallya failed to appear before investigators — and then flew out of India.