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A team of officials from the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday met with Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) here to discuss former liquor baron Vijay Mallya's extradition case. The CPS will be arguing on behalf of the Indian authorities when the flamboyant tycoon's extradition case comes up for hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on May 17. "I can confirm that our lawyers have met with officials from the CBI today (on Tuesday) to discuss the case," a CPS spokesperson said today. A three-member joint CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) team led by CBI Additional Director Rakesh Asthana had arrived in London earlier today.
A fourth member is expected to join the team tomorrow, with meetings with CPS scheduled throughout this week."Our aim is to build a strong, infallible case and these meetings will help resolve issues across the table. The CPS will be arguing based on documents provided by CBI and ED, therefore a joint team is here to address queries they may have," official sources said. Mallya, the 61-year-old chief of the erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines who owes over Rs 9,000 crore to various Indian banks, has been living in Britain since March last year. The CBI has two cases against him - one related to the Rs 900 crore loan default case of IDBI Bank and the other related to a loan default of over Rs 6,000 crore filed on the basis of a complaint from a State Bank of India-led consortium. Mallya was arrested by Scotland Yard last month on fraud allegations, triggering an official extradition process in the British courts. He attended a central London police station for his arrest and was released a few hours later after providing a bail bond worth 650,000 pounds, assuring the court of abiding by all conditions associated with extradition proceedings, such as the surrender of his passport and a ban on him possessing any travel documents. "When the case returns to court on May 17, the District Judge is likely to set down a timetable for the service of any evidence to be submitted by either side in the proceedings, and list a date for a final hearing. "There might be a few more hearings in this case in the coming months to deal with case management or any issues that arise, before the final hearing takes place, at which the full arguments from both sides will be heard by the District Judge,"explained Jasvinder Nakhwal, partner at Peters and Peters Solicitors LLP and member of the UK's Extradition Lawyers Association. If the District Judge rules in favour of extradition, the UKhome secretary must orderMallya's extradition within two months of the appropriate day. However, the case can go through a series of appeals before arriving at a conclusion. India and the UK have an Extradition Treaty, signed in 1992, but so far only one extradition has taken place under the arrangement -Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, who was sent back to India last October to face trial in connection with his involvement in the post-Godhra riots of 2002. However, unlikeMallya, he had submitted to the extradition order without legal challenge.