The Supreme Court of India yesterday asked the Centre to file a status report within six weeks on the proceedings pending in the United Kingdom for the extradition of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya to India.
The Centre had on October 5 told the apex court that Mallya cannot be extradited to India until a separate “secret" legal process in the United Kingdom, which is “judicial and confidential in nature is resolved".
A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Ashok Bhushan asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to file a status report in the matter in six weeks and posted it for hearing in the first week of January next year.
The bench also refused to accept the plea of advocate E C Agrawala, who has been appearing for Mallya in the apex court, seeking discharge from the case.
India has been pressing the UK to extradite Mallya after he lost his appeals in the British Supreme Court in May against his extradition to India to face money laundering and fraud charges.
"Now, we have been told that there is a secret legal matter and that his extradition cannot take place without its resolution... We are in touch with the UK government," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing last month
The UK government had indicated that Mallya is unlikely to be extradited to India anytime soon, saying there is a legal issue that needed to be resolved before his extradition can be arranged.
When the SC bench asked Mehta about the time-frame of proceeding pending in the UK, the Solicitor General said they have no information about it from the London High Commission.
He sought six weeks to file a status report on the issue.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, in its affidavit filed earlier in the contempt case in which Mallya has been held guilty, said that the pending legal issue in the UK is “outside and apart from the extradition process" and is “confidential and cannot be disclosed".
The bench had last month asked Mallya's lawyer to apprise the apex court by November 2, what kind of "secret" proceedings are going on to extradite him.