How the CBI is preparing for extradition of Vijay Mallya from London

The main challenge for CBI would be to ensure that Vijay Mallya is not successful in claiming that he is a victim of political prosecution.

Experts believe Vijay Mallya's extradition could be successful if the doctrine of reciprocity and corresponding laws are underlined. While the CBI is preparing its team to go to UK for the extradition, there is a view it will be a long drawn process and may even take years. Efforts will however be made to press for his deportation but his lawyers will certainly give a tough fight.

Vijay Mallya after his arrest by Scotland Yard was granted conditional bail in Westminster Court on Tuesday. Sources said a CBI team is being prepared for sending to UK for following up on Mallya's extradition in Westminster Court for hearing next month.

Generally senior officers of the rank of Joint Director along with the concerned SP and investigating officer are sent for such purposes. However CBI has not opened its cards yet but sources say a team of "competent officers" will be sent.

The team members are not only collecting details of CBI's own case of fraud, criminal conspiracy and bank loan default but they are also collecting details of cases registered against him by Enforcement Directorate for money laundering and other cases.

CBI will lead the team since it had first registered a case against Mallya and it is also a nodal agency for extradition of offenders from foreign countries. However CBI officials will also be consulting officers of other agencies which have registered cases against Mallya.

ED CASE CRUCIAL

Although Mallya has been arrested under provisions of extradition between UK and India in CBI case, the ED case of money laundering against him has more weightage as it corresponds to UK laws (Proceeds of Crime Act) and it has global implication and the laws have been ratified with UN Resolution. For extradition the offence should have punishment for more than one year. Money laundering as per UK laws has a provision of punishment for more than one year.

The extradition is possible under UK Extradition Act 2003, which has been passed by the UK Parliament. The Act says UK can extradite accused persons to countries with which it has extradition treaty.India already has extradition treaty with UK. However so far only one person Samirbhai Vinu Bhai Patel has been extradited through this arrangement so far.

Experts believe extradition is a time taking process and may even take years. At first there will be extradition hearing in the Westminster Court. Crown Prince Prosecution Department will look into the matter. Even though trials are faster in UK it may take up to even one year for this hearing to complete. But even after the hearing is complete Mallya has an option to appeal against the order. And if he claims the move to extradite him is politically motivated then it may take even longer.

First the court has to be convinced that Mallya is wanted in at least nine cases in India. The sections under which he has been booked should have corresponding laws in the UK. Besides Indian agencies will have to convince the court that proper legal procedures for his prosecution in India have been followed. This involves a lot of paper work.

Senior advocate KTS Tulsi says a lot will depend on the papers India has provided to the UK authorities.

"Indian agencies should collectively make a strong case against him and should try to press for deportation under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which is binding on both the countries," says Dr Shamsuddin, former additional director of Enforcement Directorate. Normally an accused is deported if he is detained but Westminster Court could pass a judicial order for deportation as well.

Under the MLAT a process is laid down in Section 3 and 4 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act for return of an accused to India. Therefore Section 57 of PMLA Act needs to be highlighted. However the main challenge for agencies would be to ensure that Mallya is not successful in taking the plea that he is a victim of political prosecution.

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