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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Why is the UK not extraditing Vijay Mallya?

While recently the United Arab Emirates has refused to extradite Gupta Brothers, who are accused of orchestrating industrial-scale corruption, UK authorities are not extraditing fugitive Vijay Mallya, who escaped Bharat six years ago and is now staying in London. While Bharatiya authorities are seeking extradition of Vijay Mallya for years, official sources in the UK told the media that the chances of the return of the 68-year-old controversial business tycoon to Bharat are “remote” despite Bharat’s best efforts that include meeting all the stringent requirements that were put forth by the British courts.

Notably, in April 2020, after exhausting all legal remedies available to him to escape extradition to Bharat to face charges of embezzling public money, Mallya had filed an asylum request with the UK Home Department on “humanitarian grounds”. However, almost 36 months later, the UK Home Department is yet to either allow or deny the asylum request, thereby allowing him to stay in London even as he avoids the fraud and money laundering related charges that he is facing in Bharat for the approximately Indian Rupees 90 billion of public money that he swindled.

According to media reports, Vijay Mallya is using several influential lobbyists in Bharat and Britain and his case has been pushed aggressively with the office of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

Commenting on Mallya’s case, an official source told The Sunday Guardian, “The UK government has no legal ground to stop his extradition; Mallya’s lawyers have done whatever they could and failed. What we are seeing for the past three years is intervention at the level of the UK government to stop him from being sent to Bharat.

“During his prime, Mallya was known for his hospitality that he would shower on politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, and members of the judiciary by way of moveable and immovable gifts, and it is likely that the same people are now helping him escape a prison life in India”.

A businessman who was a partner of Mallya in the past told The Sunday Guardian: “He has a very strong network in the UK. He has built this network over the last two decades. Many of the lawmakers were financially obliged by him in the past. I will not be surprised if he is getting a favorable response from London”.

The Sunday Guardian’s emails to the office of Secretary Suella Braverman seeking a response on the matter elicited no response till the time the report went to press.

Meanwhile, on March 1, 2023, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that the legal processes in the United Kingdom were as same as in Bharat, independent from the government. The British diplomat’s comment came in the context of the extradition of Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallaya. Speaking to news agency ANI, the British official said, “The legal process in the UK, just as it is in Bharat, is independent of the government. We always want to see the machinery of the justice system working promptly but those are the decisions of the British Judicial system”.

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, counterterrorism specialist and editor of Weekly Blitz. Follow him on Twitter @Salah_Shoaib


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