Vijay Mallya, who had sought asylum in the United Kingdom, was arrested by the Scotland Yard on Tuesday, almost a year after he left India. The UK police arrested Mallya as part of an extradition process which was set rolling today, and produced him for a hearing at Westminster court, which had then granted him bail.
The Government of India had cancelled Mallya's passports in 2016, in order to get him deported. But the UK government had rejected India's request to deport him at the time, as investigations by the CBI and the ED against him were still pending.
So was Mallya residing in UK illegally?
No. The passport revocation did not make Mallya's stay in the UK illegal because he holds a residency permit there and held a valid passport when he entered the country. Hence, Mallya could not be deported.
"The UK government has informed us that under the 1971 Immigration Act, the UK does not require an individual to hold a valid passport in order to remain in the UK if they have extant leave to remain, as long as their passport was valid when leave to remain or enter the UK was conferred," former foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said, while explaining the rationale the UK had given to justify denying India’s deportation request.
Chances of securing extradition from the UK are projected to be slim. Deportation only requires the UK political executive's nod. But extradition would need the approval of both the British government and the judiciary, which is a long tedious ordeal.
Deportation is the expulsion of a foreign individual from a country, whereas extradition specifically refers to expulsion of nationals of the country. Vijay Mallya, as mentioned earlier, has a valid residence permit though he is not a UK national.
As per Government of India data cited by Factly, a public information portal, only 60 individuals have been deported/extradited since 2002. As on date, India has signed extradition treaties with 42 countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and France, apart from West Asian countries like UAE , Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Turkey, among others.
The extradition treaty with the UK which was signed in 1993 defines the scope of the extradition offence as one that is punishable by law for a term of imprisonment of at least one year. This treaty does not classify political offences as extradition offences. But it provides an exhaustive list of offences that will not be treated as a political offence.
All requests for extradition are processed and formally undertaken by the Ministry of External Affairs under its set guidelines.