The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has submitted a 6-8-minute video before a court in London to counter the claims of fugitive business tycoon Vijay Mallya that conditions in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail are poor.
Refuting the hygiene-related concerns raised by Mallya, the Indian agency said that cell number 12 of the jail, where he will be lodged after extradition, has not only adequate sunlight but also other facilities like a private toilet and a washing area, NDTV reported.
The inmate of barrack number 12 will also have a 40-inch LCD television set, access to a library and a courtyard to walk, the CBI showed in its video.
“The court wanted us to show if Indian jails are hygienic. We have given them proof of the hygiene level and medical facilities available in jail. In fact, the barrack in which Mallya would be lodged is east-facing so it has lot of sunlight too,” a senior level official told NDTV. “The cell has cross ventilation with a window and bars on opposite sides. The cell also opens to a courtyard,” he added.
The CBI has submitted the video after liquor baron Mallya, who faces extradition to India over accusations of unpaid loans to a consortium of Indian banks, had claimed in court that Indian jails don’t have natural light or fresh air. He had also said in his defense that Indian jails are overcrowded and have poor hygiene conditions.
The Indian government had submitted some photographic evidences to show the court that the conditions in the concerned jail are appropriate, but the judge was not convinced.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot of Westminster Magistrates’ Court then asked the Indian government on July 31 to submit a “step-by-step video” of the barrack, where Mallya was supposed to be held after extradition. The London court gave three months to India for submission of the video, which the CBI filed within a month. The next hearing for this high-profile extradition case is scheduled to be held on Sept.12.
If the court gives the judgement in the Indian government’s favor, the UK Home Secretary will have two months to sign Mallya’s extradition order. This verdict may not be the final one, as both sides have a right to appeal in higher courts in the United Kingdom against the judgement.
Mallya faces allegations that his Kingfisher Airlines defaulted on loans and interest in 2010, and owes Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of 17 Indian banks. The Indian government is seeking his extradition after he fled to the United Kingdom in 2016.