While the United Kingdom has refused India’s request to deport former liquor baron and MP Vijay Mallya, who is facing a slew of loan default charges back home, it has asked India to request either mutual legal assistance or extradition, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Wednesday.
The ministry's statement says: " The UK Government has informed us that under 1971 Immigration Act, the UK does not require an individual to hold a valid passport in order to remain in the UK if they have extant leave to remain as long as their passport was valid when leave to remain or enter UK was conferred. At the same time,UK acknowledges the seriousness of allegations & is keen to assist GoI [Government of India] (sic).”
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha that India had sought Mallya’s deportation as banks were trying to retrieve money from him and investigative agencies were probing violations he has been implicated in. However, Jaitley confirmed, the UK said it cannot deport someone if their passport was cancelled after they were legally allowed into the country. Jaitley added that there is an alternative process to bring Mallya back – India can demand extradition when a chargesheet is filed after the investigation.
The UK was believed to have sent a “note verbale” or an informal unsigned note denying deportation to the High Commission on Monday. On May 4, the Rajya Sabha’s Chairman Hamid Ansari accepted Mallya's resignation from the House.
Mallya said last month that he has been on the British electoral rolls since 1992 and that his official address is in the UK. Mallya left India early in March, after a consortium of banks moved the Supreme Court to recover the Rs 9,000 crore he owes them. However, he has consistently maintained that he was not absconding but merely traveling for business. His diplomatic passport was revoked by the Ministry of External Affairs on April 24.