Embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya, out on a 650,000-pound bail bond following his arrest by Scotland Yard over fraud and money laundering charges, arrived at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for the opening day of his extradition trial.
The 61-year-old tycoon looked relaxed as he was greeted by 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 crores.
The trial, however, was briefly halted as the courtroom had to be evacuated due to a fire alarm. The 61-year-old tycoon and others waited outside the Westminster magistrates court during the fire drill.
“Please hear the proceedings,” Mallya told reporters outside the courtroom. Denying charges of money laundering, Mallya said, “I have said repeatedly that the charges are false, fabricated and baseless. I have nothing to say, submissions in court will be self evident”.
“I am not the decision maker. I will follow the proceedings,” Mallya told reporters.
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 this year, will be in the dock for the duration of the trial scheduled to end on December 14.
The tycoon has been on self-imposed exile in the UK since he left India on March 2, 2016.