UK assures early extradition of Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi

NEW DELHI: The extradition of Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi may happen sooner than expected. After a meeting between officials from UK and India on extradition and mutual legal assistance, Indian sources said they received a “positive” response from UK.

While the government is unwilling to comment directly on the Mallya case, the official spokesperson said, “Both sides held detailed and fruitful deliberations on the legal processes and procedures in either country and reviewed the requests for extradition and mutual legal assistance pending on either side. Both sides reiterated their determination to strengthen legal cooperation and expedite the pending requests”.

A two-day long meeting held  British and Indian officials related to pending cases of deportation and extradition of “wanted” suspects from either country. The Indian side was led by a senior MEA official in charge of passports and visas, accompanied by senior officials from home ministry, and CBI, Enforcement Directorate and other investigating agencies, including state-level officials. The British side was led by the head of the UK Central Authority for Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance, the UK Home Office, representatives from the Crown Prosecution Service and the UK High Commission in New Delhi.

While the meeting was spurred by a decision between British PM Theresa May and Narendra Modi last November to familiarize officials on both sides with legal and law enforcement procedures, it also happened in the immediate aftermath of India making a formal extradition request to the UK for Vijay Mallya, the disgraced UB baron. At the end of the meeting, Indian officials are more optimistic of being able to get Mallya back.

Indian officials answered questions about death penalty, prison conditions etc, which would help when the legal process goes through the UK system. An official statement said the meeting was about sharing “best practices, and identify the causes of delays and expedite pending requests so that fugitives and criminals should not be allowed to escape the law.” It was agreed that the Central Authorities of both the countries would review further progress in these cases every six month through video conference.

During the May visit, Indian officials had asked the UK to extradite nearly 60 people, including Lalit Modi and Mallya. In return, UK also wants 17 people from India to be tried for crimes in the UK, against whom Letters Rogatory had been issued.