Vijay Mallya extradition request given to British high commission: MEA2 min read . Updated: 10 Feb 2017, 03:01 AM IST
Vikas Swarup says the government has handed over request for extradition of absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya to the British high commission in New Delhi
New Delhi: India on Thursday requested the UK to extradite absconding businessman Vijay Mallya, sought by enforcement agencies for alleged money laundering and pursued by creditors of his grounded airline.
The government handed over a request for extradition of Mallya to the British high commission in New Delhi, foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said.
Honouring the request will be seen as an act of cooperation between India and Britain, Swarup said.
The extradition request was made a day after United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd asked Mallya to step down as non-executive chairman of the company, effective immediately.
UB Group said the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had barred Mallya from holding key managerial roles in any listed company.
Mallya flew to the UK in early March as creditors owed upwards of Rs9,000 crore by his defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd closed in on the businessman. The businessman also faces charges of money laundering in India.
“We have, today, handed over the request for extradition of Vijay Vittal Mallya, as received from CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), to the UK High Commission in New Delhi. We have requested the UK side to extradite him to face trial in India," Swarup told reporters.
“We have an extradition treaty with Britain. We believe we have a legitimate case against Vijay Mallya. We are making that extradition request in the prescribed format. Now it is for the British authorities to deliberate on that request to take further action," the spokesman said.
“Obviously, any extradition request is seen as an example of cooperation between two states to the extent that the extradition request is honoured, shows their sensitivity to our concerns as well," Swarup added when asked if the extradition of Mallya will be seen as cooperative gesture on the part of Britain.
Mallya’s extradition process can be a long and tortuous legal one, according to two people familiar with the developments. They declined to be named.
Mallya, who has expressed doubts about receiving a fair trial in India, is expected to contest the Indian request for extradition. And the hearing in the case could take years.
India revoked Mallya’s passport soon after he left for Britain on 2 March and requested his deportation. But the British government cited its inability to comply, pointing out that under its immigration laws, a valid passport was not a necessity as long as the document was valid when he was given permission to enter Britain.
Mallya also figured in talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Theresa May during the latter’s visit to India in November. Britain is looking to conclude a trade pact with India which can be signed as soon as Britain exits the European Union—in about two years.
Mallya has repeatedly failed to appear before investigators at the Enforcement Directorate probing alleged money laundering by the former liquor baron.
In January, the courts ordered a consortium of banks to start the process of recovering loans given to Mallya.
The Karnataka high court this week ordered the winding up of United Breweries (Holdings), the parent firm of UB Group.