New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to file status report on extradition of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya within six weeks. The top court after a brief hearing in the matter adjourned the case to the third week of January.
Justice Lalit noted that the order dated August 31, cites MEA report that certain legal proceedings by contemnor (Mallya) is pending in the UK. The top court had asked the counsel for Mallya to respond on the nature of these proceedings. The bench noted that an intervention application has been filed by E.C. Agrawala, counsel for Mallya seeks discharge from the case.
Justice Lalit said this application seeking discharge is rejected and Agrawala shall continue to be the counsel for the contemnor. Justice Lalit queried Mehta, “When will the Mallya’s extradition process will be completed? Any time time frame?” Mehta replied that no information from Indian High Commission in London yet.
On October 6, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has told the Supreme Court that the UK Home Office has intimated, there is a further legal issue which needs to be resolved before Vijay Mallya’s extradition takes place and this issue is outside and apart from the extradition process having effect under the UK law.
The affidavit had said that Vijay Mallya’s surrender to India should, in principle, have been completed within 28 days after he lost the appeal against extradition. However, the UK Home Office intimated that there is further legal issue which needs to be resolved before Mallya’s extradition takes place.
“The UK side further said that this issue is outside and apart from the extradition process, but it has the effect that under the UK law, extradition cannot take place until it is resolved,” said the affidavit. The MHA said the UK has informed it that this separate legal issue is judicial and confidential in nature.
On May 14, in a major setback Mallya lost his application seeking leave to appeal in the UK Supreme Court, after the London High Court declined to entertain his appeal challenging the extradition order to India on charges of fraud and money laundering in connection with unrecovered loans to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
“The UK side emphasized that neither they can provide any more details nor intervene in the process. They have also indicated that through the designated channel, the UK Home Office has received a request to serve summons on Vijay Mallya for his hearing before the Supreme Court (India),” said the MHA. The UK side said it has informed the Indian High Commission that the issue is confidential and cannot be disclosed.
The British Home Office also forwarded the Supreme Court order through Hertfordshire Police on September 17, for serving it to Mallya.
“It is also submitted that during the course of processing of request of service of notice upon Vijay Mallya, an interim report from the UK authorities has been received through the High Commission of India, London,” the affidavit said.