A letter was submitted to the apex court where the UK government informed the Foreign Ministry that there were legal issues to be resolved before Mallya could be handed over.
The federal government told the Supreme Court on Monday that it was taking all efforts to extradite Vijay Mallya, a fugitive businessman accused in a Rs 9,000 crore bank loan repayment case involving defunct Kingfisher Airlines from the United Kingdom, but the process has been delayed by some due to legal issues involved in the matter.
The bench, comprising Justices UU Lalith and Ashok Bhushan, remanded the case for further hearing on March 15, after seeking some time to file a report on the extradition of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta Mallya.
Initially, Mehta shared a letter written by External Affairs Ministry official Devesh Uttam regarding the extradition of Mallya from the United Kingdom.
He said the Solicitor General had raised the issue of the extradition of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to the UK Government and that the Central Government was making all serious efforts to extradite Mallya.
He said the government was doing its best but the status quo remained and the matter was being re-examined from the political executive level to the executive level.
The bench recorded the letter.
Mallya, who has been in the UK since March 2016, has been charged with defrauding more than Rs 9,000 crore in bank loans involving defunct Kingfisher Airlines. He is out on bail on a warrant he was executed by Scotland Yard three years ago on April 18, 2017.
In a letter submitted by the legal officer, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced by the UK Government that a further legal issue should be resolved before Mallya is extradited.
It said that under the laws in the UK, the handover could not take place until the particular issue was resolved. Since this is the judiciary by nature, you will understand that this issue is secretive and cannot be given further details by His Majesty’s government. We also cannot estimate how long it will take to resolve this issue. His Majesty’s Government fully understands the importance of this case to the Government of India. I can confirm that the Her Majesty government is trying to address this issue as soon as possible.
The letter further said that the Government of India has been making continuous efforts to extradite Vijay Mallya in advance. In November 2020, Foreign Secretary Harshwardhan Shringla raised the issue with UK Home Secretary Prithvi Patel, saying that UK legal issues were preventing the speedy extradition of Vijay Mallya.
In December 2020, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaisankar raised the issue with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Robb, most recently in January 2021, when the Indian Home Secretary raised it with the UK Permanent Home Secretary. The UK answer is the same.
On November 2 last year, the High Court had asked the Central Government to file a six-week status report on the pending legal proceedings in the UK over Mallya’s extradition to India.
The federal government told the Supreme Court on October 5 that Mallya could not be extradited to India until a separate secret legal process was resolved in the UK, which has a judicial and secretive nature.
The High Court also refused to accept the petition of advocate EC Agarwala, who appeared before the apex court for Mallya, seeking his release from the case.
In October last year, the federal government said it was unaware of any covert action against Mallya in the UK because the Indian government was not a party to the move.
The High Court ordered Mallya to appear on August 31, 2020 and October 5, 2020, while dismissing his petition seeking review of the 2017 verdict and contempt of court orders for transferring $ 40 million to his children in court violations.
When the High Court asked Mehta about the deadline for the end of pending cases in the UK, he said the High Commission in London had no information about it.
In an earlier affidavit filed in a contempt case in which Mallya was found guilty, the Home Ministry said the legal issue pending in the UK was outside the extradition process, which was confidential and could not be released.
In October 2020, the High Court had asked Mallya’s lawyer to inquire into the Supreme Court by November 2 last year as to what kind of “secret” measures were being taken to extradite him.
Details of the extradition proceedings against Mallya were provided by the Federal Government from 9 February 2017 until the dismissal of the appeal against extradition in the UK on May 14 last year, and the fleeing businessman has thus settled all avenues of appeal to the United Kingdom.
Following the refusal of leave to appeal, the federal government had said that Mallya’s surrender to India should, in principle, be completed within 28 days, but the UK Home Office said a further legal issue should be resolved before Vijay Mallya. Delivery may take place.