London: The CBI and the ED were on Tuesday the focus of severe attacks from liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s defence team, which accused the agencies of getting influenced by political pressure.
The 61-year-old businessman’s defence team attacked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) during his ongoing extradition trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.
Mallya’s barrister, Clare Montgomery, told Judge Emma Arbuthnot that the CBI was known for being politically motivated in the cases it brings to court and it cannot be a matter of coincidence that corruption allegations become more pronounced in the year an election is scheduled in the country.
“CBI has a long and inglorious history in being politically motivated in cases…with a direct correlation between allegations of corruptions and election years,” she said, adding that it tends to respond to its “political masters from time to time”.
She noted that the same can be said of ED and that the evidence in this case has been “politicised”, with the ruling BJP as well as other parties, including the Congress and Shiv Sena, using the case as an opportunity to make “political capital”.
The 61-year-old businessman’s defence team, made the claims as part of its opening arguments in response to the case for fraud laid out by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the Indian government.
That the extradition case against Mallya is “politically motivated” is likely to be discussed in further detail as the case progresses through the trial, scheduled to end on December 14.
Mallya, wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering allegedly amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores, has been in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for his defence on day two of his trial.