Liquor baron Vijay Mallya was arrested today in London by Scotland Yard. He was arrested under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) after India had made an extradition request to UK authorities. So what is MLAT? We’ll tell you. A mutual legal assistance treaty is an agreement between two or more countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public or criminal laws. This assistance may take the form of examining and identifying people, places and things, custodial transfers, and providing assistance with the immobilisation of the instruments of criminal activity. According to MEA website, India has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with 39 countries and is trying to sign this treaty with more developed countries.
Meanwhile, after being arrested Mallya was able to procure bail 3 hours later. He took to Twitter and taking a jibe at the Indian media wrote “Usual Indian media hype. The extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.” Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016. Senior officials in India described his arrest as the first salvo in the case, which will now involve a legal process in the UK to determine if Mallya can be extradited to India.
Last month, setting in motion the process of extradition of Mallya, the British government had certified India’s request and sent it to a district judge for further action. The extradition process from the UK involves a number of steps including a decision by the judge whether to issue a warrant of arrest.
In case of a warrant, the person is arrested and brought before the court for preliminary hearing followed by an extradition hearing before a final decision is taken by the secretary of state. The wanted person has a right to appeal to the higher courts against any decision all the way up to the supreme court. Earlier in January this year, a CBI court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in the Rs 720-crore IDBI Bank loan default case.