Mumbai, Apr 19 (Agencies) : Hours after beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya was arrested in the United Kingdom by the Scotland Yard, he was granted a bail after paying Rs 5.3 crore.
While he was given strict instructions from the court to not leave his address, many senior officials and sources privy of the episode clearly said the arrest was just the beginning of the extradition process and it may take a while before the former ‘King of good times’ can be brought back to India.
Until his next hearing on May 17, Mallya has been directed to follow Britain’s extradition rules, which require him to stay put at the address provided by him to the court.
In fact, several advocates have also said that the preliminary arrest is just a baby step towards Mallya’s extradition as Britain’s courts follow a different set of rules and regulations. India will have to furnish, with diligence, every fact in the case to prove its case in the British court of law.
While he is wanted in multiple cases like cheque dishonor, loan default and fun diversion, it will require a long process to bring him back to India, albeit Britain accepting India’s request to start his extradition process.
One of the main reasons why India would have to shed a lot of sweat to deport Mallya is the fact that it falls under the second category of countries, where extradition process are usually strenuous as compared to category one countries.
India would not only need robust evidence against the liquor baron but also need to prove all the criminal charges against him from scratch.
Though the Enforcement Directorate attached a number of his properties, including the Kingfisher Villa that was auctioned recently, it has failed to recover the entire amount that Mallya owes to the banks. In another case of defaulting, Mallya also took Rs 900 crore as loan from IDBI Bank, and a hefty amunt of it was used for personal use.
Both the ED and CBI officials seemed confident about his extradition as they have the required documents proving Mallya’s guilt.
So if India has every document proving Mallya’s guilt, why would the process take time? As per the British Crown Prosecution Service, extradition can be allowed in specific circumstances – prosecution of a criminal, sentencing of convict and execution of the imposed sentence.
However, the problem here is the fact the UK courts will not recognise all the offences that are applicable to him in India.
Only a diplomatic game
It was clear from MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup's statement last month that there could be no guarantee of Mallya's extradition. Swarup had asserted that India had a "legitimate" case against Mallya and if an extradition request was honoured, it would show the UK's "sensitivity towards our concerns". India has said that the case is a test of India-UK ties. So, Mallya's extradition is just a diplomatic game and not a rule-bound process.
The extradition requests already pending with the UK
Ten requests by India for extradition of fugitive criminals including Vijay Mallya are pending with the UK. Last month, in a written reply in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said only one fugitive criminal Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel had been extradited from the UK in the last five years.
The extradition requests rejected by the UK
In the past, the UK has rejected several extradition requests made by India. The minister said extradition requests for criminal fugitives Raymond Varley, Ravi Shankaran, Velu Boopalan, Ajay Prasad Khaitan, Virendra Kumar Rastogi and Anand Kumar Jain had been rejected by the UK government.
Why the UK might not extradite Mallya?
1. For extradition, the UK has placed India in Category 2 countries for which the process is arduous and long. In Category 1 are the US and European countries which get preference.
2. If the UK extradites Mallya, it will have to move on other pending extradition requests made by India.
3. Mallya can claim to be a victim of political vendetta and use that ground to block his extradition. He can easily get bail after his arrest today. He can later apply for a British passport by making financial investment there.