The Centre government yesterday told the Indian Supreme Court it is making all efforts to extradite fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya but the UK government first needs to resolve a confidential “legal issue”, hence the delay in his extradition.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench led by Justice UU Lalit that the UK government has reassured the government that it is seeking to deal with the issue quickly as it fully understands the importance of the case for India. However, the SG said the UK government has refused to give more details, saying that it was judicial in nature.
“We are trying our best. Status remains the same. From political executive level to administrative level the matter is being looked into repeatedly at the highest level,” Mehta said, adding that the issue was raised with the UK’s home secretary this month. The next date for hearing in the case has been fixed on March 15.
The apex court had in November asked the government to submit a status report on extradition of Mallya within six weeks. Mallya is wanted back in India under charges of financial fraud. He defaulted on repayment of loans taken by the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines from several Indian banks.
In January 2019, a special Prevention of Money-Laundering Act (PMLA) court had declared him a 'fugitive economic offender'. He has been based in the United Kingdom since March 2016 and is currently on bail for an extradition warrant executed three years ago by the Scotland Yard.