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India seeks one-on-one contact with Mallya's prosecutors

Source: PTI
May 04, 2017 14:16 IST
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India on Thursday asked the United Kingdom to ensure the early extradition of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya who is facing cases of bank loan default to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore by his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi raised the issue of early completion of the extradition process of Mallya, during his talks in New Delhi with his UK counterpart Patsy Wilkinson, the second permanent secretary in the British home office.

The presence of some Sikh militant elements in the UK, sharing of intelligence inputs on a real-time basis, particularly with regard to the ISIS -- both from ISIS-held territories, and modules being busted in the UK and Europe – were among the issues that were discussed at the two-hour-long meeting, official sources said.

Counter-terror cooperation between India and Britain, besides a host of other issues, also figured in the parleys.

Matters relating to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, strengthening of the intelligence-sharing mechanism and visa-related issues were also deliberated upon, the sources said.

The 61-year-old Mallya, who has been living in Britain since last year, was arrested by Scotland Yard last month on India's extradition request.

Within hours of arrest, Mallya, who is accused of cheating and fraud, was released on bail by a London court.

The UK's crown prosecution service will argue the case on behalf of India when it comes before the court.

Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016.

India and the UK have an extradition treaty, signed in 1992, but so far only one extradition has taken place under the arrangement -- that of Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, who was sent back to India last October to face trial for his involvement in the post-Godhra riots of 2002.

However, unlike Mallya, Patel had submitted to the extradition order without a legal challenge. India had given a formal extradition request for Mallya as per the extradition treaty between India and the UK through a note verbale, a diplomatic communication, on February 8.

The Union home secretary lauded the UK's effort to extradite Mallya and conveyed that New Delhi will help London to pursue the case in the UK court.

The sources said India told the UK delegation that if one-on-one contact can be established between the prosecuting agency in India and the crown prosecution or department of prosecution, then it would be faster and easier to put up evidence before the judge concerned.

India will inform the UK about the proceedings or hearings happening in the cases of wanted criminals by the UK in India and wants the UK to reciprocate in similar cases.

Both sides agreed that India and the UK will sign an MoU in July on reworking the agreement on security cooperation.

India also offered to drop cases registered against one Bangladeshi national, who is lodged in Assam, so that he can be extradited to the UK.

In return, sources said, India expects reciprocity that if people wanted by New Delhi are mired in any British case, those should be dropped and extradition facilitated. 

Image: Vijay Mallya. Photograph: Reuters.

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