Secret pending issue in UK ‘outside and apart from’ Mallya’s extradition, MHA to SC

The top court asked Mallya’s counsel to provide answers to these queries by November 2.
Vijay Mallya

New Delhi, Oct 6 : The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has told the Supreme Court that the UK Home Office has intimated that there is a further legal issue which needs to be resolved before Vijay Mallya’s extradition takes place and this issue is “outside and apart from” the extradition process.

In an affidavit, the MHA said following the refusal for leave to appeal to Mallya, his surrender to India should, in principle, have been completed within 28 days. However, the UK Home Office intimated that there is further legal issue which needs to be resolved before the extradition takes place.

“The UK side further said that this issue is outside and apart from the extradition process, but it has the effect that under the United Kingdom law, extradition cannot take place until it is resolved,” said the affidavit. The MHA said the UK has informed it that this separate legal issue is judicial and confidential in nature.

On May 14, in a major setback, Mallya lost his application seeking leave to appeal in the UK Supreme Court, after the High Court declined to entertain his appeal challenging the extradition order to India on charges of fraud and money laundering in connection with unrecovered loans to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

“The UK side emphasised that neither they can provide any more details nor intervene in the process. They have also indicated that through the designated channel, the UK Home Office has received a request to serve summons on Vijay Mallya for his hearing before the Supreme Court (India),” said the MHA.

The Home Office has forwarded the Supreme Court order, through the Hertfordshire police on September 17, for serving it to Mallya. “It is also submitted that during the course of processing of request of service of notice upon Vijay Mallya, an interim report from UK authorities has been received through the High Commission of India, London,” the affidavit said.

The Supreme Court on Monday had asked Mallya’s lawyer to inform the court when would his client appear before it so that hearing on sentencing could be done in his presence for contempt of court, for which he has already been found guilty. The top court asked Mallya’s counsel to provide answers to these queries by November 2.

On August 31, the Supreme Court had dismissed Mallya’s plea seeking review of a 2017 judgment which held him guilty for contempt of court. It also sought Mallya’s presence before the court on October 5.

The top court had held him guilty of contempt in May 2017, as Mallya did not truthfully disclose the full account of his assets, and transferred $40 million to his children. It ordered him to appear on July 10, 2017 to argue on the quantum of punishment.

The apex court passed the order on a contempt petition against Mallya by a consortium of banks led by the SBI, which claimed Mallya transferred the $40 million from Diageo to his children’s accounts, and did not use this money to clear his debt. Banks cited this as a violation of judicial orders.

The bench said let the explanation be furnished within two weeks. “The Review Petition shall, thereafter, be considered on merits,” it added.

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