The Enforcement Directorate has readied a formal request to be sent to the United Kingdom under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) for the “transfer” of Kingfisher Airlines promoter Vijay Mallya to India in the Rs. 900 crore IDBI Bank loan default case.
According to a senior official, the request has been prepared in consultation with legal experts. The 1995 treaty pertains to mutual assistance in the investigation and prosecution of crime and the tracing, restraint and confiscation of the proceeds and instruments of crime.
Article 11 (d) of the treaty provides that as part of the mutual legal assistance, in the matters of investigation and prosecution of any criminal offence, the countries can seek “transfer of persons, including persons in custody, for the purpose of assisting in investigations or giving evidence in proceedings”.
ED firms up plea
This provision will be invoked, citing the findings and legal documents related to the case against Mr. Mallya, which was first registered by the CBI a year ago. Based on the CBI case, the Enforcement Directorate has launched money-laundering investigations and attached assets worth Rs.1,411 crore. The businessman and his now-defunct airline owe over Rs.9,000 crore to a consortium of 17 banks.
The application will soon be forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs which, as per the Allocation of Business Rules, is the nodal agency for seeking or providing mutual legal assistance from, or to, other countries in criminal law matters under the MLAT. The Ministry will examine the request and the supporting documents, and after its go-ahead, the request will be forwarded to the U.K. government through Ministry of External Affairs.
Soon after the businessman flew out to London on arch 2, the agencies sought his deportation on the grounds that his diplomatic passport had been cancelled by the MEA on pril 24. Through a note verbale, the U.K. government turned down India’s request stating that his travel documents were valid when he entered the country. However, acknowledging the seriousness of the allegations against Mr. Mallya, the U.K. authorities asked the Indian government to consider requesting mutual legal assistance or extradition.
An Indian national can be brought back through three ways: deportation, transfer under the MLAT, or through procedures as provided under the extradition treaty.