Britain has told India that it cannot deport Vijay Mallya, who is facing money laundering charges in the country, but could consider an extradition request for him.
The UK government's response came nearly a fortnight after India made a request for the deportation of Mallya, whose Indian passport was revoked in a bid to secure his presence for investigations against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002.
There is also a non-bailable warrant issued against Mallya.
"The UK government has informed us that under the 1971 Immigration Act, the UK does not require an individual to hold a valid passport in order to remain in the UK if they have extant leave to remain as long as their passport was valid when leave to remain or enter the UK was conferred.
"At the same time the UK acknowledges the seriousness of the allegations and is keen to assist the Government of India.
"They have asked GoI to consider requesting mutual legal assistance or extradition," MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
The extradition can happen under the 1993 treaty or any other necessary assistance under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty signed in 1992 between India and the UK.
However, India was hoping to get the liquor baron, who is facing arrest over allegations of defaulting bank loans of over Rs 9,400 crore or Rs 94 billion, through the expeditious route of deportation and not go through the lengthy process of extradition.
Image: Vijay Mallya left India the day after public sector banks moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal against him. Photograph: PTI