Almost a year after liquor baron Vijay Mallya left the country, the government on Thursday handed over to the UK an extradition request for the absconding businessman who is facing cases of loan default and other financial irregularities. There are already 15 extradition requests pending with the British government. The Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “Today, we handed over the request for extradition of Vijay Vittal Mallya which we received from the CBI to the UK High Commission here. We have requested the UK side to extradite him to face trial in India.”
Stressing that India has a “legitimate” case against Mallya, he said if an extradition request is honoured, it shows their “sensitivity towards our concerns”. “We have made the extradition request in prescribed format and it is for the UK to deliberate on the request and take further action,” he added.
Swarup also said India is yet to make an extradition request for former IPL chairman Lalit Modi. Last month, a CBI court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in the Rs 720-crore IDBI Bank loan default case. Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had left India on March 2.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, said that during the British Prime Minister’s visit nearly three months ago, she and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had agreed that fugitives and criminals should not be allowed to escape the law.
“As of February 4, 2017, there are 15 extradition requests pending with the UK government which are at various stages of execution,” the minister said. The two leaders also expressed their strong commitment to facilitate outstanding extradition requests from both sides, he added.
Officials said that in the case of Vijay Mallya, based on the investigation initiated by the CBI in July 2015, the Enforcement Directorate started its probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act in January 2016. Several summons were issued by the ED in March and April 2016 but Mallya failed to appear in person before the investigating authority. A non-bailable warrant was issued by the designated court in April 2016.
“At the request of the Enforcement Directorate and following due process, the passport of Vijay Mallya was revoked on April 23, 2016. A formal request was also made to the Government of the United Kingdom on April 28, 2016 to deport him to India. In response, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the UK conveyed that under the 1971 Immigration Act, the UK does not require an individual to hold a valid passport to remain in the UK if they have extant leave to remain, as long as their passport was valid when leave to remain or enter the UK was conferred. Such leave is granted to the individual and therefore does not automatically expire upon the cancellation or expiry of the passport in which it is endorsed. The UK Government, however, acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations and expressed its readiness to consider the request under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or extradition,” the official said.