No high-profile extradition from UK to India 23 yrs after signing treaty
The India-UK extradition treaty came into effect on December 30, 1993, but so far no high-profile individual wanted by India has been extradited from here, making it unlikely that controversial businessman Vijay Mallya would be extradited after an arduous process.
India is included in Type B of Category 2 list of countries in Britain’s Extradition Act of 2003. A treaty between the two countries was signed in 1992 when SB Chavan was the Union home minister, and it came into effect from 1993.
The process to extradite Mallya is long, with several options for appeal. Article 5 of the treaty specifically mentions that extradition may be refused if the offence is of a political character. British courts also consider whether the individual’s human rights may be violated in case she/he is returned to the requesting country.
A senior leader in the British Indian community told HT that in Mallya’s case too, India is unlikely to be successful: “In a different context, Tiger Hanif has been sought by India since 2010 for his role in the 1993 Gujarat blasts, he has exhausted all legal options to avoid extradition, but he has still not been extradited.”
“It depends on the many boxes in the extradition process and whether they are ticked; very few manage to pass all the hoops. The Mallya case is also a test for both Narendra Modi and David Cameron after the bonhomie of his November visit,” he added.
Indians who could not be brought home to face justice include Ravi Sankaran in the navy war room leak case, former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, and music director Nadeem Saifi, wanted in the Gulshan Kumar murder case. India has also been demanding the extradition of Briton Raymond Varley to face child abuse charges in Goa.
The Home Office said it did not publish figures of individuals extradited to India since the treaty was signed. In 2007, India extradited Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, who was convicted of killing teenager Hannah Foster in Southampton in 2003 and had fled to India.
Besides various appeal options, Mallya, reported to be a ‘UK resident’ since 1992, also has the option of applying for a UK passport or applying for the Tier 1 Investors visa that enables stay by investing 5 million pounds in the British economy.
An extradition request from India needs decisions by both the Home secretary as well as the courts. The process follows these steps: extradition request is made to the Home secretary; the secretary decides whether to certify the request; judge decides whether to issue a warrant for arrest; the person wanted is arrested and brought before the court; preliminary hearing; extradition hearing; and finally the Home secretary decides whether to order extradition.
Tiger Hanif’s final appeal to avoid extradition is awaiting a decision by Home secretary Theresa May for the last several years. Such individuals have also used the last recourse of appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to avoid extradition.