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The innocent defaulter: 'I have enough evidence to prove that I am not guilty,' claims Vijay Mallya
On Tuesday, absconding Indian loan-defaulter Vijay Mallya claimed to be innocent while dismissing all allegations against him as he arrived at a London court to attend his extradition hearing.

While speaking to reporters outside the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, Mallya said, "I deny all allegations against me. I have not eluded the court, I have enough evidence to prove that I am not guilty."

The 61-year-old owner of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines had to personally appear in his extradition case after India had raised a formal request for the same on February 8 this year. Mallya is wanted for loan default case amounting to Rs 9,000 crore in India. He had fled India in March 2016 and had been living since then in self-imposed exile in the UK.

During Tuesday's hearing, referred to as a "case management hearing", the judge set a timetable for hearing arguments for and against Mallya's extradition. July 6 has been fixed as the next date of hearing.

However, in a major embarrassment for India, Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, who was hearing the case got miffed at the delays in receiving evidence against Mallya from the Indian government. Taking a dig at Indian authorities, she asked, "Are Indians normally very prompt in their responses?"

The chief magistrate further went on to say, "They have taken six months so far and we haven't got any further forward in the past 6 weeks." Her response came after Aron Watkins, who is representing India on behalf of Crown Prosecution Service said that they needed three-four weeks more to receive rest of the evidence from India.

In the meanwhile, a defiant and resolute Vijay Mallya did not mince his words while speaking to reporters outside the courtroom. His body language suggested that he might have already won half the battle, at least psychologically.

In a cynical and penetrative statement directed at the Government of India, Mallya said, "You can keep dreaming about a billion pounds; you cannot prove anything without facts."

Interestingly, Mallya has acquired the services of the firm Joseph Hague Aaronson LLP to defend him in court. Clare Montgomery, a specialist in criminal, regulatory and fraud laws, will argue on Mallya's behalf.

Well, it seems at last Mr Mallya has managed to master the art of investing money in the right place, even though his learning the art cost the nation Rs 9,000 crore!

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