ED is soon expected to make a fresh request for Vijay Mallya’s extradition under the India- UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in connection with its money laundering probe against the liquor baron in an alleged bank loan fraud case.
Officials said the agency is expected to place the request before the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) soon, in order to execute the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued by a Mumbai court against Mallya, seeking execution of the 1992 signed MLAT between the two countries against a fugitive.
The India-UK MLAT has a clause where the treaty can be invoked in a criminal probe case seeking the “transfer of persons, including persons in custody, for the purpose of assisting in investigations or giving evidence” and it is understood that ED considers this step a better legal tool than the regular extradition action to get a person back to country, under investigation by Indian probe agencies.
In extradition without MLAT, an agency has to file a charge sheet first and then notify the counterpart country to send back the fugitive, which is a time taking affair.
The agency, which wants Mallya to join the probe in the Rs 900 crore IDBI alleged loan fraud probe case “in person”, has virtually exhausted all legal options to bring him back to India including issuance of the NBW warrant against him based on which it made the requests for revocation of his passport and subsequent deportation bid.
However, the UK had early this month made it clear that the liquor baron cannot be deported and had asked India to seek his extradition instead.
The agency has also asked the Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against him even as it is working to attach Mallya’s Indian assets under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
ED is also understood to be considering issuing Letters Rogatory (judicial requests) to at least seven countries to not only probe Mallya’s finances but also that of his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines (KFA).
Mallya had left India on March 2 using his diplomatic passport.
The agency has registered a money laundering case against Mallya and others based on an FIR registered last year by the CBI.
ED is also investigating financial structure of Kingfisher Airlines and looking into any payment of kickbacks to secure loans.