London: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya is expected to tie the knot with his long-time girlfriend and former air hostess Pinky Lalwani. Lalwani, who is much younger to Mallya, met him when she was hired for the now-defunct Kingfisher airlines in 2011. This will reportedly be Mallya’s third marriage. His first wife was Sameera Tyabjee and second wife (who he is still legally married to) is Rekha Mallya, a childhood friend. He has three kids from his previous marriages, a son named Siddharth and two daughters, Leanna and Tanya.
The duo have reportedly been dating and recently celebrated the third anniversary of their relationship. According to multiple media reports, Lalwani has been spotted frequently with Mallya’s mother at various events and has always been in good terms with his family. She has reportedly stood by his side despite their age difference and the bankruptcy scandal.
The 62-year-old, who is on trial at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court to rule if he can be extradited to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores, is on bail until April 2.
At the last hearing in January, Clare Montgomery, Mallya’s counsel, had argued that evidence that was claimed as a “blueprint of dishonesty” by the CPS was in fact privileged conversation between Mallya and his lawyer about “legal advice in clear contemplation of litigation” and hence should be inadmissible. On a separate category of evidence presented by the Indian government, Mallya’s team questioned the reliability of investigating officers in the case and pointed to over 150 pages of “near identical material” purporting to be statement of witnesses taken under Section 161 of the Indian CrPC.
“They do not appear to be in any way an account of things that witnesses would have said but rather seem to be somebody else’s analysis put into the mouths of the witnesses, down to the spelling mistakes,” Montgomery said, adding that the documents were “identically reproduced” with not only the same words but also the same typing errors. After the defence has completed its arguments, the CPS will respond against the claim of “absence of a strong prima facie case on grounds of iniquity”.
Mallya was arrested by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant in April 2017 and has been out on bail on a bond worth 650,000 pounds. Chief Magistrate Arbuthnot is expected to pronounce her verdict in the case by May this year. If she 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 chief magistrate’s verdict.