Vijay Mallya extradition: SC tells Centre to submit status report on confidential proceedings in UK within six weeks

The Centre had on 5 October told the apex court that the fugitive businessman cannot be extradited to India until a separate secret legal process in the UK is resolved

Press Trust of India November 02, 2020 17:53:28 IST
Vijay Mallya extradition: SC tells Centre to submit status report on confidential proceedings in UK within six weeks

File Image of Vijay Mallya. PTI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to file a status report in six weeks on the confidential legal proceedings pending in the United Kingdom on extradition of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya to India.

The Centre had on 5 October told the apex court that Mallya cannot be extradited to India until a separate, secret legal process in the UK, which is judicial and confidential in nature, is resolved.

A bench of Justices UU Lalit and Ashok Bhushan asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to file a status report in the matter in six weeks and posted it for hearing in the first week of January next year.

The bench also refused to accept the plea of advocate EC Agarwala, appearing for Mallya in the apex court, seeking discharge from the case.

The Centre had last month said it is not aware of the secret ongoing proceedings against Mallya in the UK as the Government of India is not party to the process. Mallya, an accused in bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is in the UK since March 2016. He is on bail on an extradition warrant executed three years ago by Scotland Yard on 18 April, 2017.

On 31 August, the top court had directed Mallya to appear before it on 5 October while dismissing his plea seeking review of the 2017 verdict which held him guilty of contempt for transferring $40 million to his children in violations of court orders.

During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing on Monday, the solicitor general told the bench that Agarwala has filed an application for discharge from the case.

"This is aggravating the matter. We have filed an affidavit saying that there are some proceedings going on which is confidential in nature. Without that legal issue being resolved, extradition can not be done," Mehta said.

"The application seeking discharge is rejected and advocate EC Agarwala will continue to appear for the contemnor on the matter", the bench said in its order.

When the bench asked Mehta about time-frame for the proceedings pending in the UK, the Solicitor General said they have no information about it from the London High Commission. He sought six weeks time to file a status report on the issue.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, in its affidavit filed earlier in the contempt case in which Mallya has been held guilty, said that the pending legal issue in the UK is outside and apart from the extradition process and cannot be disclosed as it is confidential

The bench had last month asked Mallya's lawyer to apprise the apex court by 2 November, what kind of "secret" proceedings are going on to extradite him.

The Centre had given details of the extradition proceedings against Mallya starting from 9 February, 2017 till the dismissal of his appeal on 14 May and said that the fugitive businessman has thus exhausted all avenues of appeal in the United Kingdom.

The Centre had said that following the refusal of leave to appeal, Mallya's surrender to India should, in principle, have been completed within 28 days but the UK home office intimated that there is a further legal issue which needs to be resolved before Vijay Mallya's extradition may take place.

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