London: Unless there is a fresh approach in London to extradition requests from India, it is unlikely that controversial Indian businessman Vijay Mallya will be actually extradited to India anytime soon.
Mallya is not the first high-profile Indian based in the UK and wanted in India. The list of others whom India has sought to extradite include Lalit Modi (for alleged financial offences), Ravi Sankaran (in the navy war room leak case), Nadeem Saifi (in the Gulshan Kumar murder case) and Tiger Hanif (in the Gujarat blasts case).
The only extradition so far, of Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, wanted in connection with a 2002 Gujarat riots case, in October 2016 did not exactly reflect a fresh approach in London.
Unlike the other individuals wanted by India, Patel, 40, did not oppose the extradition, but “consented” to it, cutting short the long extradition process. He was arrested on 9 August last year and, on 22 September, home secretary Amber Rudd signed the extradition order.
The reasons for his consent to be extradited to India are not known, but India was delighted at the first successful extradition to the country from the UK since the India-UK extradition treaty was signed in 1992.
Mallya is unlikely to consent to extradition, and is expected to fight it legally, a process that could take months, if not years. For instance, Tiger Hanif lost his legal challenge in April 2013 and has since made a final appeal to the home secretary, who is yet to rule on it.
One of the reasons earlier Indian requests for extradition did not succeed was the poor paperwork and evidence presented in UK courts, people familiar with the process said. More care has been taken in paperwork related to Mallya, they added.
The UK has a long and proud history of providing refuge to those fleeing political and religious persecution, but those facing financial allegations in home countries are also increasingly finding refuge in the cooler climes of the UK.
In recent years, high-profile foreign offenders with considerable wealth, including many from Russia, have found refuge and a safe place to park their assets and enjoy a peaceful life in the UK.