INDIAN government has informed the Supreme Court that the extradition of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya from the UK is being delayed due to some legal issues.
The government added that it is making all efforts to extradite Mallya, accused in bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore (over £900m) involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Ashok Bhushan posted the matter for further hearing on March 15, after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought some time to file report on the status of extradition of Mallya.
Mehta shared a letter of the ministry of external affairs’ official Devesh Uttam written to him on the status of extradition of Mallya from the UK.
The solicitor general said that government is trying its best but status remains the same and from political executive level to administrative level the matter is being looked into repeatedly.
The bench took the letter on record.
Mallya has been in the UK since March 2016. He is on bail on an extradition warrant executed three years ago by Scotland Yard on April 18, 2017.
The letter stated that, ‘the ministry of external affairs has been informed by the UK government that there is a further legal issue that needs resolving before Mallya can be extradited”.
“Under the UK law, extradition cannot take place until it is resolved. As it is judicial in nature, the issue is confidential and you will understand that Her Majesty’s government cannot provide any more details. We also cannot estimate how long this issue will take to resolve. Her Majesty’s government fully understands the importance of this case to the government of India. I can reassure that Her Majesty’s government is seeking to deal with the issue as quickly as possible”. The letter further stated.
In November 2020, foreign secretary Harshvardhan Shringla raised this issue with UK home secretary Priti Patel, who informed that UK’s legal complexities were preventing the quick extradition of Vijay Mallya.
“In December 2020, the external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar raised the issue with the UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab and most recently in January 2021, the home secretary of India raised it with the UK permanent under secretary of Home. UK’s response remains the same,” the letter said.
On November 2, last year, the top court had asked the Centre to file status report in six weeks on the confidential legal proceedings pending in the UK on extradition of Mallya to India.
The top court had also refused to accept the plea of advocate E C Agarwala, appearing for Mallya in the apex court, seeking discharge from the case.
On August 31, 2020, the Supreme Court had directed Mallya to appear before it on October 5, 2020, while dismissing his plea seeking review of the 2017 verdict which held him guilty of contempt for transferring $40 million to his children in violations of court orders.