The United Kingdom has told India that it cannot deport Vijay Mallya, who is facing money laundering charges in the home country, but could consider an extradition request.
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response came nearly a fortnight after India made a request for the deportation of Mallya, whose Indian passport was revoked in an attempt to secure his presence for questioning under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (See: India writes to UK authorities seeking Mallya's deportment).
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said he was not surprised by the UK government's stand but the government is working on the deportation process.
''What I have learnt so far is that deportation can't be allowed if someone entered UK through a valid passport and then it [the passport] is cancelled. Another alternative process is that when a charge-sheet is filed after investigation, then extradition has to be demanded,'' Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha today.
According to a statement by the ministry of external affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Vikas Swarup, ''The UK Government has informed 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.''
However, the UK has acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations and has expressed its keenness to assist India in the matter and has asked the government to consider requesting mutual legal assistance or extradition.
Deportation is basically a done at the government level through executive order after vetting the evidence produced by a country where the fugitive is required for any offence he or she may have committed there. Extradition on the other hand is a formal process wherein evidence against a fugitive is produced before the court for vetting. In extradition, a judicial decision is taken for sending back a fugitive to the country where he or she is required to face law. It is normally a longer process than deportation.
Extradition can happen under the 1993 treaty or any other necessary assistance under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) 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 on bank loans of over Rs9,400 crore, through the expeditious route of deportation and not go through the lengthy process of extradition.
Earlier, the Patiala House court issued a notice to Mallya on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), seeking to withdraw the exemption granted to him from personal appearance in a case of allegedly evading summons in connection with purported violation of the Foreign Exchange Rules.
The court has sought Mallya's response by 20 May.
The ED plea also sought issuance of a non-bailable warrant against the chairman of defunct Kingfisher Airlines to secure his presence in the ongoing trial of the case.
The Centre had earlier revoked Mallya's diplomatic passport and told the Supreme Court that it would soon initiate court proceedings and approach the British government for his extradition.
The ED last month obtained a non-bailable warrant against Mallya from a Mumbai court in a money laundering case (Court tells ED to execute warrant against Mallya).