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Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi and the uphill task that is Extradition


"C'rrupt and Criminals art m're likely to useth their human rights effectively than Unc'rrupt and Legitimate"

No, this is not a quote from a well-known personality. It's just a Shakespearean way of saying "Corrupt and Criminals are more likely to use their human rights effectively than Uncorrupt and Legitimate".  The sentence has beauty if you look from a Criminal's point of view. And he knows the truth it reveals. How? Why? What? Read on. You will get your answers.

Let's dig into some facts:

India and United Kingdom have an extradition treaty which dates back to 15 November 1993, the day on which it was forced.

Quoting from the Treaty (for this article "Requesting State would be India and Requested State will be U.K.")-

"In addition, extradition shall be available for an extradition offence as described in 

Article 2: (a) if it is committed in a third State by a national of the Requesting State and the Requesting State bases its jurisdiction on the nationality of the offender; and

(b) if it occurred in the Requested State, it would be an offence under the law of that State punishable with imprisonment for a term of at least one year. ". One of the key exceptions to the extradition is quoted as "Extradition may be refused if the offense of which it is requested is an offence of a political character. "

Now, in our context, the most important article is Article 9 which declares the grounds for the refusal of extradition.

ARTICLE 9 Grounds for Refusal of Extradition 

(I) A person may not be extradited if: 

(a) he satisfies the Requested State that the request for his extradition (though purporting to be made on account of an extradition offence) has in fact been made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing him on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions; or 

(b) he satisfies the Requested State that he might, if extradited, be prejudiced at his trial or be punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty, by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions; or 

(c) he satisfies the Requested State that it would, having regard to all the circumstances be unjust or oppressive to extradite him by reason of 

(i) the trivial nature of the offence of which he is accused or.was convicted; or 

(ii) the passage of time since he is alleged to have committed it or have become unlawfully at large, as the case may be; or 

(iii) the accusation against him not having been made in good faith in the interests of justice.

(d) the offence of which he is accused or convicted is a military offence which is not also an offence under the general criminal law. 

(2) A person who has been convicted of an extradition offence may not be extradited therefore unless he was sentenced to imprisonment or another form of detention for a period of four months or more or, subject to Article 16, to the death penalty. 

(3) A person may not be extradited if he would, if proceeded against in the territory of the Requested State for the offence for which his extradition is requested, be entitled to be discharged under any rule of law of the Requested State relating to previous acquittal or conviction. 

So basically, we have a set of laws that can be used by the Requested State to deny the extradition to the requesting state. These are essential in order to protect a man who is not guilty but the state has some malicious motives in his extradition. But, these laws meant to protect innocents are used by the guilty in order to escape extradition. And this has happened in many cases. In some cases, we even fail to fill a proper extradition request, thanks to our slow judicial system and lack of political will or in simple terms corrupt nature of our political system. One of such cases would be of Lalit Modi where no request for extradition was made by the UPA government at that time. He was even helped by the current External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj to get travel documents. 

Another name Ravi Shankaran an ex-Indian Naval Officer and now an arms dealer is on the run in "Naval war room spy scandal" and living in London since 1997. He has not yet been extradited.  An extradition warrant was signed against him but Shankaran appealed and got the extradition rejected by the England and Wales High Court on the basis of no prima facie case against him. 

Nadeem Saifi one of the accused in the murder of Gulshan Kumar was never extradited on the grounds that the accusation was not made in good faith. In the same way, we have Vijay Mallya, probably one of the high profile fugitives in the list. Will he be extradited, we can only hope because there are too many ways and loopholes to escape the extradition process.

P.S.- As a research, Google, Tiger Hanif-Another name on the list.

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Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi and the uphill task that is Extradition

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