Asked about the status of Vijay Mallya’s extradition at a virtual press conference, acting British high commissioner to India Jan Thompson said it was not possible to provide a precise timeline.
Britain on Tuesday said it was trying to resolve as quickly as possible the “confidential" legal issue which has held up the extradition of businessman Vijay Mallya to India.
The comment was made by acting British high commissioner to India Jan Thompson, who also described the current moment in ties as “propitious" for bilateral relations “in terms of the opportunity for multilateral engagement and focus over the next couple of years, where the UK and India will be prominent."
To ensure continued momentum in ties, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab will be visiting India in the coming months, followed by a visit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Thompson said. A new British high commissioner to succeed Philip Barton who was promoted to permanent-under secretary in the foreign office earlier this year, is expected in New Delhi in January, she said.
“The recent and upcoming engagement we’re seeing at the highest levels of government shows the moment of strategic opportunity for the UK and India is still there, it is felt really acutely on both sides, and we’re continuing to work closely to grasp it," Thompson told reporters.
“In 2021, the UK will assume the Presidency of the G7 (Group of Seven Industrialized nations) and will host COP 26 (Conference of Parties to the UN’s climate convention), while India will chair the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa grouping) and begin its eighth term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council," she added.
Asked about the status of Mallya’s extradition at a virtual press conference,Thompson said it was not possible to provide a precise timeline. “I think you are probably aware, because we’ve said it a number of times, there is a further legal issue that needs resolving before we would be in a position to extradite Mr Mallya."
She said the extradition had “been ordered some time ago."
It is “difficult for me to comment on it very substantively" because it is a legal matter, she added.
Extradition proceedings against Mallya had concluded in May after the UK’s high court rejected his plea to approach Britain’s Supreme Court against sending him back to India. News reports said a request for asylum in the UK had held up his departure.
“But the extradition cannot take place until that particular legal issue is resolved. It’s a confidential issue, I can’t say any more on it. Nor can I estimate how long it will take to be resolved, but what I can (say) is that we’re trying to resolve the issue as quickly as we can," Thompson said.
British authorities do not publicly comment on individual cases as a matter of policy and because of strict data protection laws. India has already said it is not a party to the “secret legal matter" in the UK that has held up Mallya’s extradition.
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