New Delhi : Setting in motion the process of extradition of industrialist Vijay Mallya, who has been declared a proclaimed offender, the British government has certified India's request and sent it to a district judge for further action.
"The UK Home department on February 21 conveyed that the request of India for extradition of Mallya has been certified by the secretary of state and sent to the Westminster Magistrates' Court for a district judge to consider the issue of releasing of warrant," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.
The development is a step forward towards securing the extradition of the fugitive businessman wanted in India for loan default of over Rs 9,000 crore. Baglay also noted that a formal extradition request in respect of Mallya as per Extradition Treaty between India and the UK was handed over to the British High Commission here through a note verbale on February 8. While handing over the request, India had asserted that it has a "legitimate" case against Mallya and maintained that if an extradition request is honoured, it would show British "sensitivity towards our concerns". The extradition process from the UK involves a number of steps including a decision by the judge whether to issue a warrant of arrest. In case of a warrant, the person is arrested and brought before the court for preliminary hearing followed by an extradition hearing before a final decision by the secretary of state. The wanted person has a right to appeal to the higher courts against any decision all the way up to the supreme court. Earlier in January this year, a CBI court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in the Rs 720-crore IDBI Bank loan default case. Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016.