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First hearing to provide indication on the way case will move

According to General VK Singh, India’s junior minister in the external affairs ministry, the extradition process of scam accused business tycoon Vijay Mallya from the UK is not an easy affair. Even as defence and finance minister Arun Jaitley has said that the country is treating this with utmost seriousness (he did not name Mallya, though), the process would surely take a while. There is also scope for appeal for Mallya.

The first hearing of the extradition case will be held in London later in the day (IST) on June 13 at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court.

India initiated extradition processes earlier this year. Mallya is wanted in India for a Rs 9,000 crore fraud of bank loans in India.

Mallya is on bail, after paying a bond of £650,000.

The India-UK extradition treaty was signed in 1993 and the only extradition so far has been of one of the 2002 Gujarat riots accused Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel last year.

Mallya’s extradition will not be easy, because the British courts have to be satisfied that the reason for extradition are not on the grounds of race, religion, nationality or public opinion, or the accusations were not made in good faith in the interests of justice, or were “trivial in nature.”

Considering the continuous stay in England IPL scam accused Lalit Modi, the government has to move carefully in the Mallya case. The case has to deal with all the possibilities and Mallya will surely be represented by top lawyers who are already hard at work to present his side of the story.

Also critical for India would be more necessary conditions to fulfill. Apart from the reasons as above, any extradition request will also have to show clearly that the crime would be punishable in Britain as well, with at least a year in prison. Moreover, this is linked to the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. And when human rights issues take over, there remain a plethora of loopholes.

Today’s hearing would, thus, provide a crucial indicator as to which way the case may proceed.

India Legal Bureau

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