India raises with UK extradition of Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi
New Delhi: India on Monday discussed with Britain the issue of the extradition of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is wanted here in connection with non-payment of huge loans to banks and a case of fraud and money laundering, and another fugitive Lalit Modi.
"I had a very positive and frank discussion with UK Minister of State for Immigration Brandon Lewis on issues concerning both India and UK," Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said after talks with Lewis.
Lewis is here with a delegation of British officials and met Rijiju at his North Block office where he raised 13 cases of extradition, including those of Mallya, Lalit Modi and bookie Sanjiv Chawla, and 16 Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) cases.
Asked about talks with Lewis on Mallya's extradition, Rijiju said India cleared its position on all issues and the response was positive from the UK government. "But there can't be a detailed discussion on Mallya as the matter is in court."
Mallya was rearrested on October 3 by police in London in connection with a fraud and money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and was released on bail by a London court soon after. The beleaguered liquor baron had said that he had "done nothing wrong" and had described the allegations against him as "fabricated".
Mallya was first arrested on April 18, after the extradition request was issued on January 31, since when a number of cases and management hearings have taken place ahead of the extradition hearing, which is to start on December 4. He will meanwhile remain on conditional bail.
Rijiju also brought to Lewis' notice anti-India activities by Sikh extremists and Kashmiri separatist elements based in the UK.
The Minister also raised the alleged pro-Kashmir lobbying by a few British MPs at the behest of Pakistan-origin MPs.
In the meeting, the Home Ministry agreed to issue emergency certificate for six months to its citizens who have lost or destroyed their passport or travel documents. Earlier it was three months.
India also agreed to consider a UK proposal to be a signatory to the criminal record cooperation that links criminals (Indians) to organised crime, a Home Ministry official said.
Lewis also expressed his satisfaction over the end of the meeting on a positive note. "Enjoyed a positive meeting with Kiren Rijiju this afternoon discussing shared aims on migration issues," Lewis tweeted.
"We had a really good meeting, and are going to continue the positive conversation between our governments," he said.