The United Kingdom’s high commissioner said on Thursday that the country cannot give a timeline for the extradition of fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya to India, the Hindustan Times reported.
However, High Commissioner Philip Barton added, during a news conference in London, that the British government and courts are clear that they will prevent individuals from dodging justice by moving across national borders. “We are all determined to play our part in any case, and to make sure that we’re working together to ensure that criminals can’t escape justice by crossing national borders,” he said.
Barton said Mallya’s extradition was ordered in February, but refused to comment on the ongoing case in the UK courts. “There is an ongoing legal case and I can’t comment any further on that and I can’t say anything at all about timescales,” he told the media. He also refused to answer a question about whether Mallya had sought asylum in Britain. He said the British government never commented on individual asylum cases.
On June 4, the British High Commission said the businessman cannot be extradited to India unless “a legal issue” is resolved. “Under United Kingdom law, extradition cannot take place until it is resolved,” a spokesperson for the High Commission said. “The issue is confidential and we cannot go into any detail. We cannot estimate how long this issue will take to resolve. We are seeking to deal with this as quickly as possible.”
On May 14, Mallya was denied permission to appeal to Britain’s Supreme Court against a UK High Court order that upheld a 2018 ruling for his extradition to India to face fraud and money laundering charges resulting from the collapse of his defunct company Kingfisher Airlines. The businessman, who owes Indian banks over Rs 9,000 crore, fled from India to Britain in 2016.