India on Monday asked Britain to extradite nearly 60 people wanted by it, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya and Chirstian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal, for bringing them back to face justice.
India and Britain also agreed to hold annual strategic dialogue at the level of union home secretary to jointly deal with issues like terrorism, organised crimes, visa and immigration matters.
The Indian list of around 60 wanted people was handed over to Britain during the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Theresa May.
Britain also handed over to India a list of 17 people whose custody it seeks under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or against whom Letters Rogatories had been issued, official sources said.
While industrialist Vijay Mallya has been accused of money laundering, Chirstian Michel is the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal.
The two countries agreed not to allow fugitives and criminals escape law and resolved to facilitate outstanding extradition requests.
In talks between Modi and May, the issue of extradition requests figured and officials dealing with the issue from both sides were directed to meet at the earliest.
Sources said India expects forward movement in Mallya’s extradition from the UK following the talks. They said the specific issue of Mallya’s extradition had also figured in the talks between the two sides in the run up to the meeting between Modi and May.
Asked whether Mallya issue figured in the talks, joint secretary (Europe) in the External Affairs Ministry Randhir Jaiswal referred to the Indo-UK joint statement issued after the discussions which said the two Prime Ministers affirmed their strong commitment to enhancing cooperation under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
Former IPL boss Lalit Modi is also evading law in India and Monday’s talks may help Indian authorities to push for his early extradition as well.
Michel is a British citizen and wanted by CBI while Mallya and Modi, who have made the UK their home, are wanted by the ED in money laundering cases.
“The two leaders agreed that fugitives and criminals should not be allowed to escape the law. They expressed their strong commitment to facilitate outstanding extradition requests from both sides.
“In this context, they directed that the officials dealing with extradition matters from both sides should meet at the earliest to develop better understanding of each countries’ legal processes and requirements; share best practices, and identify the causes of delays and expedite pending requests,” the statement said.
The strategic dialogue between union home secretary and his British counterpart, permanent secretary for Home Office, will begin from next year to discuss counter-terror cooperation, ways to deal with organised crimes besides bilateral visa and immigration matters, sources said.
This is for the first time India and Britain will have such a mechanism for dealing with security issues.
India already has an arrangement with the United States to have annual Homeland Security dialogue at the level of union home minister.