India writes to UK authorities seeking Mallya's deportment
29 April 2016
In a further development in the Vijay Mallya case, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has written to the UK High Commission requesting the deportation of the defaulting businessman so that ''his presence can be secured for investigations against him'' under India's anti-money-laundering law.
Speaking to the press, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said they haven't heard from the high commission yet, and bringing Mallya back to country will be a long shot.
Mallya has told the Supreme Court through his lawyers that his return to India will be pointless in the current circumstances. He fears he will be sent to jail upon arrival.
On the legalities involved in deportation / extradition, Senior Lawyer Sanjay Hegde told CNBC-TV18 it will be a long-drawn process as multiple levels of clearances are required.
As for Mallya, Hegde feels the best tactic for the moment should be buying time by delaying the matter as much as possible.
Mallya flew to London last month as bankers pressed him to repay about $1.4 billion (Rs9,000 crore) owed by his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
The liquor tycoon and Formula 1 boss has not disclosed his whereabouts since flying first class from Delhi to London on 2 March, leaving the Indian government and bankers red faced as they try to crack down on high-profile defaulters.
The foreign ministry last Sunday revoked Mallya's diplomatic passport that he carried as a member of the Rajya Sabha. The move was a step towards launching a bid to bring home Mallya, who is the subject of a non-bailable warrant issued by a special judge in Mumbai.
The Enforcement Directorate has accused Mallya's UB Group of using Rs430 crore ($64.5 million) of bank loans to Kingfisher to buy property overseas.
Creditors, led by State Bank of India, have rejected an offer of partial repayment by Mallya, who had given a personal guarantee for the Kingfisher loan. They have demanded that the former billionaire attend a hearing in Supreme Court.
Mallya, traced by Indian reporters to a country residence in Hertfordshire, has said he would comply with the law.
The British Home Office, which adjudicates in such cases, declined to comment. A spokesman said its policy was neither to confirm nor deny that extradition requests have been made.