First step: UK 'stratifies' extradition of Vijay Mallya

India's ministry of external affairs on Friday said that the extradition of embattled businessman Vijay Mallya has been 'stratified' by the secretary of state of the UK government and soon a warrant might be released against him.

"On 21 February, the home office of the UK government conveyed that India's request for extradition of Mallya has been stratified by secretary of state and sent to Westminster Magistrate court for a district judge consider issue of releasing of warrant," MEA official spokesperson Gopal Bagley told the media in New Delhi.

Mallya is wanted with regard to pending cases of loan default case totalling over Rs 9,000 crore.

Baglay said a formal extradition request for Mallya in line with the India-UK extradition treaty was handed over to the British High Commission in Delhi through a note verbale on 8 February.

The British government decision seems to have followed the Indian request. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who was in UK last month, was told by the British leadership that they would take a "positive" view of the matter.

While handing over the request, India had asserted that it has a "legitimate" case against Mallya and maintained that if an extradition request is honoured, it would show British "sensitivity towards our concerns".

Mallya's extradition is still far from a done deal, however. The extradition process involves a number of steps, including a decision by the judge whether to issue a warrant of arrest. In case of a warrant, the person is arrested and brought before the court for preliminary hearing, followed by an extradition hearing ahead of a final decision by the secretary of state.

The wanted person has a right to appeal to the higher courts against any decision all the way up to the Supreme Court.

In January this year, a CBI court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in the Rs720-crore IDBI Bank loan default case. Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs9,000 crore to various banks, had left India on 2 March 2016, without his departure being opposed in any way by the Narendra Modi government.

In March, the Supreme Court fast-tracked the proceedings against Mallya and reserved its order on contempt proceedings against him for allegedly diverting $40 million (Rs266.11 crore) to his children's accounts in foreign banks in violation of court orders.

A bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit reserved its order on whether or not Mallya was guilty of contempt and what action should be taken to bring back the money.

The court concluded the proceedings after a three-and-a-half-hour hearing during which the Centre contended that Mallya was mocking the Indian system by fleeing the country.

 (Also see: Vijay Mallya to be extradited, UK court may issue arrest warrant)