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Vijay Mallya extradition: Foreign Secretary Shringla says UK government gave ‘best assurance’

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla announced on Saturday that India has put its strongest case forward on charges of fraud and money laundering against Vijay Mallya, who is facing charges related to unpaid loans to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. He met with officials from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) during his two-day visit to the UK to review the Roadmap 2030 strategy for an enhanced UK-India partnership.

As part of the wide-ranging conversation, consular issues such as extraditing economic offenders wanted in India to face charges were also discussed. ‘We have been given to understand that there is a process in place and that the British side is working on his (Mallya) extradition based on that process,’ Shringla said when asked about Mallya’s extradition, which is thought to be undergoing a ‘confidential’ asylum application process after all legal appeals were exhausted last year.

‘We have no reason to doubt that assurance that this man wanted for economic offences in India, owes a lot of money in India has to be returned to the country. As for their part, they have given their very best assurance,’ said the Foreign Secretary. Gaitri Issar Kumar, the Indian High Commissioner in the UK, said that the Indian mission in London has been pressing on the issue.

According to the High Commission, the extradition has already been decided; the only thing left is the legal process, which they are required to conduct since it is a judicial process. On Monday, Mallya’s bankruptcy case will return to the High Court in London, where a consortium of Indian banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) is seeking a bankruptcy order against the 65-year-old businessman to recoup unpaid loans.

The Foreign Secretary also announced that the first UK-India Consular Dialogue will take place in September, during which a whole range of consular issues, including easier student visa processes, will be discussed. ‘The UK will host its first Consular Dialogue with India in September. There are a number of consular issues, which is bound to happen when there are so many people to people connections,’ Shringla said.

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‘I reminded them that economic offenders including Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya should be extradited as soon as possible. Additionally, I pointed out that criminals such as Jayesh Patel are in custody and he needs to be deported as soon as possible to India. He needs to face justice in India, as he is here on fake identity papers,’ he said. While Nirav Modi is seeking permission to appeal his extradition in the High Court in London, Jayesh Patel is battling his extradition at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London since he was arrested earlier this year.

In addition to consular and migration issues raised during the Foreign Secretary’s trip to the UK, he also received an update on the Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP), which had been signed between UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in May. The MMP would facilitate greater two-way exchanges of students and professionals, Shringla said on the landmark decision between the two sides.


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