Do not consider Vijay Mallya’s asylum request, India messages UK
India on Thursday said it has asked the UK not to consider any request for asylum from businessman Vijay Mallya, currently on bail pending his extradition, as there are no grounds for his persecution in the country.
A week ago, the UK had said a “confidential” legal issue was holding up Mallya’s extradition but that it is trying to deal with the matter as quickly as possible. Britain’s stance gave rise to speculation that the 64-year-old businessman, wanted in India to face charges of financial irregularities, could have applied for asylum in the UK.
Asked about the possibility of Mallya applying for asylum on humanitarian grounds and a timeline for his extradition, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava told a weekly news briefing: “After Vijay Mallya’s leave to appeal to the [UK] Supreme Court, that application was rejected, we have been in touch with the UK side for his early extradition.
“And we have also requested the UK side not to consider his asylum, if requested by him, because there appear to be no ground for his persecution in India.”
Mallya lost his appeal against the 2018 order to extradite him in the UK high court in April. Last month, the high court also refused Mallya permission to appeal in the UK Supreme Court.
He is wanted in India to face charges of financial offences involving Rs 9,000 crore borrowed by his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines from several Indian banks.
People familiar with developments, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the UK side had no further comments on Mallya’s case beyond the statement made by the spokesperson of the British high commission on June 4, and this position was in line with long-standing policy.
The British mission’s spokesperson had said that “there is a further legal issue that needs resolving before Mr Mallya’s extradition can be arranged”. The spokesperson had added, Under United Kingdom law, extradition cannot take place until it is resolved. The issue is confidential and we cannot go into any detail.”
The spokesperson had also declined to “estimate how long this issue will take to resolve”, and said: “We are seeking to deal with this as quickly as possible.”