MHA to discuss India’s jail facilities as Mallya’s lawyers raise issue to block extradition
The external affairs ministry earlier sought information from the MHA on the facilities following the argument put forward by Mallya’s defense counsels.india Updated: Nov 12, 2017 08:25 IST
Home ministry is meeting next week to discuss prison facilities in India after Vijay Mallya’s lawyers recently raised the issue to block the fugitive liquor baron’s extradition from the UK, where he has taken refuge.
The move comes after the external affairs ministry sought information from it on the facilities in the wake of Mallya’s defense counsels’ argument.
Home secretary Rajiv Gauba is likely to chair a meeting on November 13 to prepare its reply to the external affairs ministry’s request.
The development comes days ahead of the next case management hearing in Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London where the future course of 61-year-old Mallya’s extradition trial--scheduled to start on December 4-- will be discussed.
The next case management hearing is due on November 20.
Mallya is wanted in India on loan defaults amounting to about Rs. 9,000-crore.
“The MHA’s stance will be that the prison facilities in India are as good as any other place in the world. A prisoner’s legal rights are protected here, they are given accesses to medical facilities and their safety and security is protected by the authorities,” a senior home ministry official told HT on Friday.
The official viewed the argument put forward by Mallya’s lawyers in the UK court as an obvious effort to delay his extradition.
“In the past chief ministers and even corporate honchos have been lodged in the different prisons so what is so different about Mr Mallya?” the official asked.
The official said it would be “little pre-mature” to discuss in which prison Mallya would be lodged if he was extradited as the decision would lie entirely with the concerned Indian court where Mallya is being tried.
Given that his case is being looked at in a UK court as well, the MHA will be asked by a court here to give an undertaking that the human rights of the accused will be protected in the prison.
“The same will be then sent to lawyers of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the principal public prosecuting agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales,” the official added.
Sources said the government is being extra careful about Mallya’s case owing to some past instances where the UK refused extradition requests because of prison conditions in India.
Another senior government official, requesting anonymity, confirmed that the meeting due to take place in MHA next week will discuss all issues related to Mallya’s extradition.
Two of India’s extradition requests were denied last month by UK after their defense lawyers argued the move would violate their client’s rights.
On October 16, a Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled in favour of UK-based alleged bookie Sanjeev Kumar Chawla and also discharged a fraud case against a British Indian couple, Jatinder and Asha Rani Angurala.
In Chawla’s case, the ruling was based on human rights grounds over “severe conditions” in Tihar Jail.
In the other case the ruling was related to human rights but not pertaining to jail condition.
Other instances of extradition request being refused because of poor jail conditions in India include Purlia Arms drop case where Indian government had sought extradition of Kim Davy from Denmark.