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After Delay in Extradition of Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi, SC Questions the 'Will' of Modi Govt

The court even questioned the will of the Ministry of External Affairs in getting the fugitives back from the foreign country.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:December 12, 2017, 2:08 PM IST
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After Delay in Extradition of Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi, SC Questions the 'Will' of Modi Govt
File photos of Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi.
New Delhi: Even as liquor baron Vijay Mallya and former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi roam free in the UK, the Supreme Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the central government over its "attitude" and delay in yet another extradition matter.

"What is this attitude? You don't even bother about the orders of the Supreme Court. We have been virtually extending threats to the officers in the Ministry of External Affairs but you still don't act," said a bench led by Justice Arun Mishra.

The court even questioned the will of the Ministry of External Affairs in getting the fugitives back from the foreign country.

"Somebody has run away, but the government isn't doing anything about it. We have been issuing orders in this case for last eight months but you have done nothing. You should tell us what the undercurrent is. Why are you not acting?" the bench told Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh and senior advocate V Mohana, who appeared for the Centre and the MEA.

The bench also pointed out that different lawyers have been appearing in this matter on different dates but they appear to not have been properly apprised of the developments.

"We think we will now call the secretaries in the MEA. They will be called to court to explain. That seems to be the only way forward now," added the bench.

Responding, ASG Singh regretted lack of adequate assistance and said that he would ensure that specific instructions come from the MEA.

The bench then posted the matter to Friday, making it clear that all formalities relating to extradition in this case should be completed by then.

The matter relates to a businesswoman, Ritika Awasty, who went to UK in January 2016 after obtaining bail and a permission from the top court to travel abroad.

Awasty, a promoter of Bush Foods Overseas Pvt Ltd, had been named as an accused in a case registered in Uttar Pradesh under charges of cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust. She had moved the apex court after the Allahabad High Court refused to quash the FIR against her — not protecting her from arrest.

Awasty, while securing a permission to go abroad, had given an undertaking to come back but she never returned, compelling the court to issue directions to the government to forfeit her assets and also initiate extradition proceedings.

But even the application for extradition has not been settled yet, let alone a formal request be made to UK.

Last month, at a bilateral meeting with British Minister of State for Immigration Brandon Lewis, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had sought cooperation from Britain for extradition of 13 fugitives, including Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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