London: Four of the seven steps that need to be followed for a person to be extradited from the UK have been completed in the case of Vijay Mallya, the fugitive millionaire whose companies owe Indian banks around Rs9,000 crore.
Vijay Mallya was arrested in London on Tuesday and released on bail a few hours later for defaulting on loans to his grounded Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.
India is classified as a Type B country in the UK’s Extradition Act of 2003. A treaty between the two countries was signed in 1992 when S.B. Chavan was the home minister, and it came into effect in 1993.
An extradition request from India has to be approved by the UK home secretary as well as by the courts.
The process follows these steps: the extradition request is made to the home secretary; the secretary decides whether to certify the request; if he certifies it, the request is forwarded to a judge who decides whether to issue a warrant for arrest; if a warrant is issued, the person wanted is arrested and brought before the court; the person faces a preliminary hearing and, following this, an extradition hearing; and, depending on the outcome, the secretary decides whether to order the extradition.
Until Britain leaves the EU, the person facing the extradition case has a final recourse—approaching the European Court of Human Rights.
In Mallya’s case, the first four stages have been completed.
Under the rules, after the person sought has been arrested, he is brought before the court and the judge sets a date for the extradition hearing.
At the hearing, the judge must be satisfied that the person’s conduct amounts to an extradition offence, none of the bars to extradition apply and there is prima facie evidence of guilt.
The judge also has to consider whether the person could face the capital punishment if extradited and whether an extradition would be a violation of his or her human rights.
If the judge is satisfied that all of the procedural requirements are met, and that none of the statutory bars to extradition apply, the case is sent to the home secretary, who takes the final call. The person sought can appeal at various stages.
Extradition is prohibited if the person could face the death penalty (unless the home secretary gets adequate written assurance that the death penalty will not be imposed or, if imposed, will not be carried out).
It can also be prohibited if there are no so-called speciality arrangements with the requesting country—“speciality” requires that the person must be dealt with in the requesting state only for the offences for which they have been extradited (except in certain limited circumstances).
Another ground for refusal is if the person has already been extradited to the UK from a third state or transferred from the International Criminal Court and consent for onward extradition is required from that third state or that court (unless the secretary has received consent).