Vijay Mallya extradition: UK unlikely to send Kingfisher Airlines' owner to India

Placing a request to the UK for the extradition of Vijay Mallya may smack of great intent and will get a few hurrahs but it is really like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. Largely ineffective.

The British have no intentions of parceling him back.

Vijay Mallya. AFP

Vijay Mallya. AFP

In this century India has had 60 individuals extradited but not one from the UK. With the Theresa May visit to India being chilly at best the former colonials have never really taken India’s extradition requests seriously. Even in that brief moment of love and flowers between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and David Cameron, this was one area that did not take off. In May last year, the Brits categorically turned down New Delhi’s request for his deportation.

The queue is pretty long. From Raymond Varley wanted for pedophilia in Goa to Tiger Hanif wanted for the 1993 blasts who has exhausted all avenues in the great paper chase and still not been extradited, we also have Lalit Modi sitting pretty. There is also Ravi Sankaran wanted for the navy secrets disclosures. In the past 24 years since the UK-India treaty was signed in December 1993, not one bloke has been sent across the waters so it is a slim chance that Mallya is losing much sleep over the first small step on a massively steep climb.

Although India does have an erudite High Commissioner in Yash Sinha in extraditions diplomatic pressure does not count for much tangible result except for greater shows of courtesy.

The Brits have India in category 2 countries which means the process is even longer. Cat One nations are the US and Europe and there is a bit of hypocrisy in the whole approach supposedly based on being a signatory to the European commission on human rights and all that because Whitehall is quite well disposed to dispatching those folks wanted across the pond by the US even though Washington seldom reciprocates.

Mallya has more loopholes than a slice of Swiss cheese. He can invest $7 million in the country and get an investor’s visa seeing as how he has been a ‘resident’ these past twenty-five years…that could also entitle him to obtain a passport. If not that then there is always Article 5 of the treaty that says it can be refused on grounds of political vendetta. Mallya could hide behind that bunker for years. Also, fiscal crimes are open to wide interpretation and Mallya’s lawyers will be pretty happy campers for the present.

Even if, under the provisions, Mallya is arrested and that little dog and pony show could be staged for public benefit the local magistrate can grant him bail and he would be home for dinner. A minor inconvenience at worst.

The UK authorities would not like to establish a precedent. If they sent off one person it would start a stampede and set into motion demands from other Cat two nations.

If you read the text of the extradition process it does sound very impressive and needs to be wrapped up within six months maximum inclusive of appeals and all other options.

The person requested should be on a flight in that time.

Just doesn’t happen.

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Updated Date: Feb 10, 2017 15:26:05 IST

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