India asks UK for early extradition of Mallya

RSTV Bureau
File photo of liquor baron Vijay Mallya. (PTI)

File photo of liquor baron Vijay Mallya. (PTI)

India has asked Britain to ensure early extradition of businessman Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in India in a bank default case involving more than Rs 9000 crore.

involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

On Monday, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi sought an early conclusion to the extradition process of Mallya during his talks with his UK counterpart Patsy Wilkinson, the second permanent secretary in the British Home Office, sources revealed.

“We have discussed how to remove the bottlenecks in processing extradition requests. The process involved in matters of extradition and the need to further improve them were also discussed,” home ministry adviser Ashok Prasad said.

Though Prasad maintained no specific case was discussed at the meeting, some other official sources said the Mallya case was indeed raised by the union home secretary.

Mallya is a declared a proclaimed offender by a Mumbai court.

61-year-old liquor baron who has been living in Britain since last year, was arrested by Scotland Yard last month at India’s request for his extradition.

Within hours of his arrest, Mallya, who is accused of cheating and fraud, was released on bail by a London court.

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will argue the case on behalf of the Indian authorities when it comes up before the court.

Mallya, whose defunct Kingfisher Airlines allegedly owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016.

India and the UK signed an extradition treaty in 1992, but so far only one person has been sent back under it.

India had made a formal extradition request for Mallya through a note verbale, a diplomatic communication, on February 8.

Mehrishi lauded the UK’s effort for extraditing Mallya and offered New Delhi’s help to the prosecution in pursuing the case in London.

Sources said India told the British delegation if one-on-one contact could be established between the prosecuting agency in India and the Crown Prosecution or Department of Prosecution, it would be speedier and easier to present evidence before the judge concerned.

The Indian side said authorities here will inform the UK about the proceedings or court hearings happening in cases of criminals wanted by Britain living in India and wanted it to be reciprocated.

Meanwhile the talks also focussed on the presence of certain Khalistani militant elements in the UK.

“We discussed the issue of Khalistani militants based in the UK and they have promised to look into it,” Prasad said.

Both sides agreed to address the challenges of illegal migrants and resolved to work together to ensure smooth return of Indians overstaying in the UK after proper verification.

“Both India and the UK laid emphasis on cooperation on anti-terrorism mechanism and to strengthen mutual support to check cyber crimes. Both sides agreed to finalise these arrangements,” Prasad said.

The Indian side also brought up visa-related difficulties faced by Indian students, skilled professionals and dependents of Indian diplomats which the UK official assured would be looked into.

(With inputs from PTI)