Over the last few months, the Indian High Commission in London had made it known that the image of Britain was taking a beating in the eyes of the Indian people, and the Indian government was forced not to strengthen bilateral cooperation, in the wake of the extradition plea for fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya. In early February, almost a year after Mallya left the country, the Indian High Commission handed over to the UK an extradition request for the absconding businessman.
While there are already 15 extradition requests pending with the British government, London was asked to act on Mallya’s case with “priority” — India is yet to make an extradition request for former IPL chairman Lalit Modi. Sources said authorities returned to the case with renewed vigour after Prime Ministers Theresa May and Narendra Modi agreed during May’s visit last November that fugitives and criminals should not be allowed to escape the law. The two leaders, sources recalled, also expressed their strong commitment to facilitate outstanding extradition requests from both sides.
Sources said that in the case of Mallya, based on criminal investigations initiated by the CBI in July 2015, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiated investigations under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in January 2016. The ED issued summons in March and April 2016, asking Mallya to appear before the investigating authority. But he failed to appear in person. A non-bailable warrant was issued by the designated court in April 2016.
“At the request of the Enforcement Directorate and following the due procedure, the passport of Vijay Mallya was revoked on April 23, 2016.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,” an official said.
“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 allegations and expressed their readiness to consider the request under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or extradition,” the official said.