AHEAD OF the first India-UK home affairs dialogue on May 4, New Delhi is learnt to have rejected London’s proposal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on immigration and organised crime, which includes a provision for deportation of illegal Indian immigrants. According to government sources, London was keen to formalise the agreement — “Cooperation and exchange of information for the purpose of combating international criminality, tackling serious organised crime and pursuing immigration functions”.
“In December last year, they provided a draft of the agreement, but (Indian) security agencies pointed out that some of the clauses were against Indians settled in UK,” said a senior government official. According to information shared by UK authorities with their Indian counterparts, there are nearly 35,000 illegal Indian immigrants in different parts of Europe. London conveyed that there is an urgent need to deport these people.
But immigration officials in India said they have come across several cases of deportation from UK, where the people are actually from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan or Sri Lanka. “They claim to be Indian in the hope that they will be treated well. But without any proper documents, it is very difficult to establish their country of origin,” said an official on condition of anonymity. So the home ministry may propose a joint mechanism to re-draft the MoU. The UK delegation led by Patsy Wilkinson, second permanent secretary, British Home Office, is expected to hold consultations with Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi here on Thursday. Wilkinson is responsible for immigration policy.
Officials said extradition requests, including that related to liquor baron Vijay Mallya, will be on top of the agenda during the dialogue. A team of CBI-ED is already in London to expedite Mallya’s extradition. Besides Mallya, there are nine other extradition requests pending with UK — Rajesh Kapoor, Tiger Hanif, Atul Singh, Raj Kumar Patel, Jatinder Kumar Angurala, Asha Rani Angurala, Sanjeev Kumar Chawla, Shaik Sadiq and Ashok Malik.
During the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Theresa May in November last year, India came up with a list of nearly 60 fugitives who are suspected to be hiding in Britain. UK also provided a list of 17 people whose custody it seeks under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or against whom Letters Rogatory have been issued.
India and Britain are also expected to discuss cooperation on international terrorism, organised crime and visa matters. The two countries are likely to extend agency-to-agency cooperation in matters related to international terrorism, particularly on the Islamic State’s online propaganda. The issue of visas under different categories, including medical, tourism, business, is also likely to be taken up during the bilateral dialogue.