U.K. has said it cannot extradite Vijay Mallya, Centre informs Supreme Court

The U.K. government had communicated that there was a ‘further legal issue’ to be resolved before the businessman could be extradited

The United Kingdom government has told the Indian side that businessman Vijay Mallya cannot be extradited until a confidential “legal issue” concerning him is resolved, the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Monday.

An official letter from the Ministry of External Affairs, quoting excerpts from the U.K. government’s communication, was read out by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta before a Special Bench led by Justice U.U. Lalit.

The letter quoted the U.K. government saying there was a “further legal issue” to be resolved before Mr. Mallya could be extradited.

The U.K. has refused to provide details of this “issue”, saying it was judicial in nature. It has also refused to disclose how long it would take to resolve the issue, though reassuring that it knew how important the Mallya case was to the government of India.

The Ministry letter quoted U.K. assuring that it was “seeking to deal with the issue as quickly as possible”.

Mr. Mehta said the government had been making frequent and repeated efforts to extradite Mr. Mallya from the U.K.

The letter itself related how the Foreign Secretary had raised the issue of Mr. Mallya’s extradition with the U.K. Home Secretary in November. The Foreign Minister had done so with the U.K. Foreign Secretary in December. This was followed by the Home Secretary raising it with the U.K. Permanent Under Secretary of Home in January 2021.

The court listed the case for March 15.

On October 5, the court had asked Mr. Mallya’s side to come clean about the nature of a “confidential” proceedings going on after the rejection of his appeal against extradition in the U.K. Supreme Court.

‘Secret proceedings’

The government had informed that Mr. Mallya’s case in the U.K. was over, but some “secret” proceedings were on.

The court had wanted to know about the nature of these confidential proceedings.

On August 30 2020, the Supreme Court had dismissed Mr. Mallya’s review petition against a May 9, 2017 verdict of contempt.

The court had found no merit in businessman’s three-year-old review plea against his conviction.

The court had in May 2017 found Mr. Mallya guilty of contempt for wilful disobedience of its order to come clean about his assets and not disclosing a sum of $40 million (₹600 crore) he received from British liquor major Diageo Plc following his resignation as Chairman of United Spirits Limited in February 2016.

In his original arguments before the Supreme Court in 2017, Mr. Mallya had informed the court that the $40 million was one among “thousands of transactions” he did and could not be counted as an asset. He said he had no control over that money now as he had already disbursed it among his three adult children, who are U.S. citizens.

Countering allegations made by a banking consortium led by the State Bank of India, which had filed the contempt of court petition against him, Mr. Mallya said he had already given a complete list of assets as of March 31, 2016. The court had ordered him to provide the banks with a list of his assets so that they could recover ₹9,200 crore due to them.

The banks had sought contempt action against Mr. Mallya arguing that the disbursal of the $40 million among his three children was in direct violation of a standing Karnataka High Court order that none of his assets should be “alienated, disposed of or be subjected to the creation of third party rights.”

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