Mallya extradition: Indian jails on par with Europe, UK told

India has told UK authorities that all wanted Indians, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, will get the same treatment in India and the facilities in its jails are no worse than in European nations, a senior official has said.

This message was conveyed by union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi to his British counterpart Patsy Wilkinson, the second permanent secretary in the British Home Office, during a meeting last week in London.

The Indian delegation led by Mehrishi told the British authorities that whoever is extradited from the UK will be lodged in a proper jail with facilities on par with European jails, said the official, who did not want to be named, told sections of the media.

However, the Indian team made it clear that no extradited persons will be given preferential treatment but would be treated like any other prisoner and asked the British authorities to convey this to the court in London.

Meanwhile, a two-member team comprising senior officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is in London to brief the Crown Prosecution Service that is representing the Indian government in the extradition case of Mallya, chairman of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

The ED officials will submit an over 5,000 page prosecution complaint filed by the agency against Mallya and the airlines last month in Mumbai, reports said.

One of the grounds Mallya has put forward for challenging the Indian government's move to get him extradited from the UK is that the conditions in Indian jails are below standard.

The Indian delegation told their British counterparts that the cells in Indian jails are bigger than European jails and all jails have medical facilities with a proper hospital, the official said.

The home ministry has already written to the Maharashtra government to improve the conditions of its Arthur Road jail, where Mallya would be lodged if extradited from the UK, he said.

Mallya, who is wanted in India for Kingfisher Airlines' default on loans worth nearly Rs9,000 crore, has been in Britain since March 2016. A court in London is hearing a case regarding his return to India.

India has already assured Britain of all assistance in extradition matters to allow the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to present water-tight cases before the courts there against Mallya.

Mehrishi visited London in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's talks with his British counterpart Theresa May in Hamburg, on the sidelines of the G20 meeting recently.

Modi had asked for Britain's cooperation in sending "economic offenders" back to India. A joint team of the ED and the CBI is currently in London to brief UK prosecution, working on the extradition of Mallya, and to submit fresh proof in the case.