VIJAY MALLYA is unlikely to be flown to India anytime soon, with the UK government pointing to a legal issue that needs to be resolved before arranging his extradition.
Last month, the fugitive tycoon lost his appeal to move the UK Supreme Court against his extradition to India to face charges of money laundering and fraud worth over £1 billion.
News reports, especially in India, had claimed that Mallya was being flown back to India on Wednesday (3). British officials, however, said the extradition was complex, and involved technical hurdles.
Terming the issue “confidential”, a spokesperson in the UK high commission said on Thursday (4) “we cannot estimate how long this issue will take to resolve”.
“Vijay Mallya last month lost his appeal against extradition, and was refused leave to appeal further to the UK Supreme Court. However, there is a further legal issue that needs resolving before Mr Mallya’s extradition can be arranged,” he added.
“Under United Kingdom law, extradition cannot take place until it is resolved. The issue is confidential and we cannot go into any detail. We cannot estimate how long this issue will take to resolve. We are seeking to deal with this as quickly as possible.”
On May 21, India’s external affairs ministry said it was in touch with the British government over Mallya’s extradition after he exhausted all legal options against New Delhi’s request to extradite him.
Sources said Mallya — a former member of the Rajya Sabha (upper house of India’s Parliament) — could seek political asylum in the UK.
The 64-year-old liquor baron had lost his high court appeal in April against an extradition order to India. His appeal to move the Supreme Court, too, was rejected by the London high court last month.
Mallya has been in the UK since March 2016, and remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed three years ago by Scotland Yard on April 18, 2017.
The high court verdict in April upheld the 2018 ruling by Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot at the end of a year-long extradition trial in December 2018 that the former Kingfisher Airlines boss had a “case to answer” in the Indian courts.
Describing Mallya as a “glamorous, flashy, famous, bejewelled, bodyguarded, ostensibly billionaire playboy”, she had said: “I am ordering extradition — I am referring the matter to the home secretary.”