UK Supreme Court rejected, Vijay Mallya’s appeal for his extradition to India

LONDON: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s application for permission to appeal his extradition to India in the UK Supreme Court was rejected on Thursday, leaving the 64-year-old flamboyant businessman with just one escape route from incarceration in an Indian jail: the European Court of Human Rights.
At 10.30 am on Thursday, whilst Mallya’s lawyers were busy representing Nirav Modi at his extradition hearing, Lord Justice Irwin and Justice Elizabeth Laing, the high court judges who had dismissed Mallya’s appeal against extradition on April 20, 2020, ruled there was no point of law of general public importance involved in their decision. This meant the UK Supreme Court could have no jurisdiction over his case.
Mallya, once a glamorous fixture on India’s party scene, last option is to obtain an emergency injunction, known as interim measures pursuant to Rule 39, from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the international court in Strasbourg, France. Interim measures are normally decided within 48 hours.
His chances of getting interim measures are “moderate”, said Ben Keith, an extradition barrister at 5 St Andrew’s Hill, London. “It depends on the evidence he has on Indian prison conditions. He could also raise Covid-19,” he added. “To issue interim measures, the court will need to be persuaded there is a threat to his life or health if removed to India.”
If Mallya gets the injunction, his extradition to India will be prevented until his case is heard by the ECHR, which could take about five years. The ECHR protects the human rights of people in countries that belong to the Council of Europe, of which Britain is a member. It has no connection to the EU.
If he fails to get the injunction, he has to be extradited to India within 28 days of May 14. The Indian police will fly to London and he will be handed over to them at Heathrow. They will accompany him back to India where he will be housed in Barrack 12 of Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai. Mallya is on bail on a £650,000 surety following his arrest in London on April 18, 2017. His revoked Indian passport has been retained by Scotland Yard and his bail conditions are that he must not leave the UK or apply for international travel documents.
If he is not extradited to India within 28 days of May 14, he can apply to be discharged, or else an extension to the deadline for his removal could be obtained by the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the Indian government.
The majority of requests for interim measures are refused. Cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla failed to get such an injunction in February and was escorted back to Delhi soon afterwards. In 2019, out of 82 requests made for Rule 39 injunctions with the UK as the respondent state, none were granted.
On April 29 Mallya had lodged an application seeking leave to appeal in the UK Supreme Court the high court decision dismissing his appeal against extradition. The two legal points he wanted the apex court to consider were whether the prima facie test in an extradition case is wrong and also what kind of evidence should be admissible in an extradition case.
When former Indian naval officer Ravi Shankaran, an accused in the Naval War Room leak case, won his extradition case against the Indian government on appeal in 2014, it was because the judges ruled some of the Indian government’s evidence was not admissible. “But the high court’s Mallya judgment changed all that. Now anything can go into a prima facie case,” Keith said.
Just hours before the high court decision not permitting his appeal to the UK Supreme Court, Mallya had tweeted: “Congratulations to the government for a Covid-19 relief package. They can print as much currency as they want BUT should a small contributor like me who offers 100% payback of state-owned bank loans be constantly ignored? Please take my money unconditionally and close.”