For almost this entire month, two cells in Barrack No.12 of Arthur Road jail where the CBI plans to lodge embattled liquor baron, Vijay Mallya, after executing the ongoing extradition proceedings, have been getting a major face-lift with the tiles being replaced, walls painted and bathroom refurbished.
Barrack 12 at the Arthur Road Jail houses high-profile inmates, including prisoners who face a security threat elsewhere, or ones who could pose a threat to others. It’s a ground-plus-one structure with eight cells on each floor.
A video of the new and improved cell has been shot by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the top-secret video has been sent to the Ministry of External Affairs to aid in the extradition process.
Fugitive Vijay Mallya has been resisting extradition and possible lodging in the Arthur Road jail citing poor conditions of prisons in the country.
The specifications were highlighted after a UK court on 31st July, asked Indian authorities to submit a “step by step video” of the jail compartment where Mallya would be kept. The court’s directions came after Mallya’s defence team focused its objections on the lack of natural light available in Barrack 12 and claimed that the “government of India assurance cannot be relied upon”.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a nearly 10 minute-long video highlighting various facilities, such as a television set, private toilet, a washing area, availability of proper natural light, access to library and a courtyard to take a walk, before the London court.
The CBI resolute in bringing back Vijay Mallya to India, and predisposed to make any further acclimations in the process, had to concede on shooting a video since the Westminster Magistrates’ Court judge, expressing dissatisfaction with the still photographs provided by the Indian authorities of the jail premises, had given specific instructions for the video to be shot and submitted within three weeks.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who has been on bail in an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.
In the ongoing extradition proceedings, if the judge rules in favour of the Indian government, the UK home secretary will have two months to sign Mallya’s extradition order. However, both sides will have the chance to appeal in higher courts in the UK against the Magistrates’ Court verdict.