The extradition of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya from the United Kingdom is held up due to “a confidential legal issue” and there is no timeline available for the process, ANI reported external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava as saying on Thursday.
“We have been told that there is a confidential legal issue which needs addressing, following which Vijay Mallya can be extradited to India,” Srivastava said. “No particular timeline has been indicated to us and we continue to take up this issue with UK authorities.”
Earlier this month, appearing for the Centre in a contempt case against Mallya, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the Supreme Court that they have no information about the timeframe of proceeding pending in the UK.
Following this, the top court had asked Centre to file a status report on the confidential legal proceedings within six weeks.
Mehta’s submission was a reiteration of the Centre’s position on the matter, after on October 5 it told the Supreme Court that the government of India was not a party to the secret ongoing proceedings against Mallya in the UK.
The liquor baron, who is fighting his extradition to India, faces fraud and money laundering charges in a bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore resulting from the collapse of his defunct company Kingfisher Airlines.
In February 2017, India had submitted an extradition request to the United Kingdom after Mallya made it clear he would not return. In July 2019, the United Kingdom High Court allowed him to challenge his extradition order.
Mallya has repeatedly denied the charges against him and offered to pay back 100% of the amount borrowed by Kingfisher Airlines, but neither the banks nor the Enforcement Directorate has been willing to accept the offer. He also claimed that the allegations against him were related to borrowing only Rs 900 crore.