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Vijay Mallya extradition could be delayed; he may seek political asylum, say agencies

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New Delhi/London, June 4, 2020-

With a pending legal issue remaining unresolved, Indian fugitive businessman and founder of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya, may escape his extradition to India for some more time. He remains out on bail in England.

Sources in London said Mallya was likely to use all his heft to thwart the extradition process.

A top Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer said on condition of anonymity, “Mallya is going to exploit all legal remedies. First the official order has to come out and Indian Mission has to be informed.”

The officer said the investigating agencies are aware of the possibility that Mallya, being a former Rajya Sabha Member, could seek political asylum in the UK. They said they had information to this effect.

Another CBI source said on Thursday that Mallya’s extradition would take time as “formal extradition order in this regard has not been issued” by the United Kingdom. Further, there is a legal option for the fugitive liquor baron to exploit.

On May 14, the UK High Court rejected Mallya’s plea seeking permission to file an appeal in the Supreme Court in London.

“The final extradition order copy pertaining to this has not been issued,” said a top CBI officer heading the agency probe in the fraud case against Mallya.

“Vijay Mallya’s extradition is not happening now. Once the UK government takes necessary steps, we will look into it and inform everyone,” said a top CBI officer.

Sources further said that currently no CBI investigating team is in the UK.

The case is being handled by a Special Investigation Team headed Joint Director Manoj Shashidhar.

Under India-UK Extradition Treaty, the UK Home Office will have to formally certify the court order for Mallya to be extradited to India within 28 days. The date is to end on June 11.

The liquor baron has lived in the UK since he fled India on March 2, 2016.

Under the new Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, Mallya is the first accused in India to be booked. In 2019, a Mumbai court named Mallya as an offender under the Act, empowering probing agencies to seize his properties and assets the world over.

Mallya is facing charges of loan default to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore. (Agency)

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