The Centre on Friday said it was working on entering into deals with a number of countries to ensure that economic offenders from India “cannot hide” in other countries and are extradited or deported when needed. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley emphasised that extradition was a lengthy process, even with assistance from countries that agree to deport offenders, PTI reported.
To sidestep this time-consuming process, the government is working on signing agreements, including deportation treaties, with “maximum number of nations”, Jaitley said during Question Hour in Lok Sabha during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament.
Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy asked Jaitley what steps were being taken to bring back the “IPL man” – referring to former Indian Premier League Chairman Lalit Modi – and “Kingfisher man” – beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya. “Relevant agencies are trying to get him [Mallya] back through extradition or deportation. Diplomatic channels are also being used,” Jaitley said in response, according to ABP News, adding that law enforcement agencies had already attached assets worth Rs 8,040 crore.
Reiterating his statement from the February 1 Budget speech, he said the Finance Ministry was looking into whether a new law is required or existing laws need to be amended as per which they can confiscate the assets of those committing financial crimes in India and seeking refuge abroad.
The Opposition has targeted the Centre a number of times since Mallya, who owes 17 banks Rs 9,000 crore, left the country in March last year. The Supreme Court on Thursday had asked the government whether there were any measures under the criminal law to bring him back from London. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had said the Centre was looking into it and would take steps accordingly.
Mallya told the top court on Thursday that government authorities had attached all of his assets and he was left with no money to repay the giant loan. India has been requesting the United Kingdom to extradite the businessman under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
Lalit Modi, on the other hand, faces money-laundering charges, and the Enforcement Directorate has been trying to have him extradited from the UK. In 2010, the Board of Control for Cricket in India had accused Modi of misappropriating funds worth Rs 470 crore during his term as IPL chief. The Chennai Police had registered a case against him and six others.