Vijay Mallya in the dock: UK govt certifies extradition, says MEA

Vijay Mallya
The wheels have started turning to secure the extradition of liquor baron Vijay Mallya (pictured), accused of loan default of over Rs 9,000 crore.

 

The UK conveyed to India, in a February 21 order, that its request for Mallya’s extradition has been certified by the Secretary of State, said ministry of external affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay.

 

This is a crucial step in securing the extradition of an individual from the UK. However, the actual process could take months, even years. No high-profile extradition has taken place from the UK to India since a treaty was signed in 1993, though India has extradited a number of Britons, including Maninderpal Singh, convicted of raping and murdering a British teenager, who had fled to India.

 

Baglay said the UK home office had forwarded the extradition plea to a district court to secure a formal warrant against Mallya.

 

“They conveyed it has been sent to a Westminster magistrate’s court for a district judge to consider the issue of releasing a warrant,” he added.

 

In the UK, extradition involves several steps, most of which are time-barred, but allow several tiers of appeal. Once the Secretary of State has certified that the matter can go to court, and if the court is satisfied that enough information has been supplied, an arrest warrant can be issued. This is the point at which Mallya’s case rests currently. The court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the conduct described in the request is an extradition offence (which includes the requirement for dual criminality). Generally the information accompanying a request needs to include: details of the person; details of the offence of which they are accused or convicted; if the person is accused of an offence: A warrant for their arrest or provisional arrest (or an authenticated copy); if someone is unlawfully at large after conviction of an offence: A certificate of the conviction and sentence (or an authenticated copy), or for provisional arrest, details of the conviction; evidence or information that justifies the issue of a warrant for arrest in the UK, within the jurisdiction of a judge of the court that would hold the extradition hearing.

 

Arrest and preliminary hearing

 

After the person has been arrested he is brought before the court and the judge sets a date for the extradition hearing.The hearing must satisfy the judge that the conduct of the individual amounts to an extradition offence. This must then be sent to the Secretary of State for a decision.

 

The judge’s order to send the case to the Secretary of State can be appealed in the high court, but within 14 days and from the high court, it can be appealed in the Supreme Court, also within 14 days. But once the matter reaches the Secretary of State and the extradition is ordered, the individual has only four weeks to explain to the Secretary of State why he should not be extradited.

 

Extradition can be reviewed by the Secretary of State under specific circumstances:
  • The person could face the death penalty (unless the Secretary of State gets adequate written assurance that the death penalty will not be imposed or, if imposed, will not be carried out)
  • There are no speciality arrangements with the requesting country — ‘speciality’ requires that the person must be dealt with in the requesting state only for the offences for which they have been extradited (except in certain limited circumstances)
  • The person has already been extradited to the UK from a third state or transferred from the International Criminal Court and consent for onward extradition is required from that third state or that Court (unless the Secretary of State has received consent)
 

None of these apply to Mallya.

 

The Secretary of State has to make a decision within two months of the day the case is sent. Unless there is an appeal, an individual must be extradited within 28 days of the Secretary of State’s order.


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