New Delhi: India on Thursday asked Britain to ensure early extradition of all wanted persons, including fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya who is an accused in a bank loan default case of over Rs 9000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, who met his British counterpart here, assured the UK of all assistance in extradition matters including that Mallya to allow the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) to present water-tight cases before the courts there.
The issue was raised by Mehrishi during talks with his UK counterpart Patsy Wilkinson, the second permanent secretary in the British Home Office.
"We have discussed how to remove the bottlenecks in processing extradition requests. The process involved in matters of extradition and the need to further improve it were also discussed," Home Ministry Adviser Ashok Prasad said.
Though Prasad maintained that no specific case was discussed at the meeting, official sources said Mallya's case was "alluded to" by the Indian side. Prasad just said the extradition case is subjudice.
He said all specific extradition matters will be discussed extensively between agencies concerned of the two countries.
"We discussed the issue of Khalistani militants based in the UK and they have promised to look into it," Prasad said.
Both sides agreed to address the challenges of illegal migrants and resolved to work together to ensure trouble-free return of Indians overstaying in Britain after proper verification.
Prasad said the Indian side brought up visa-related difficulties faced by Indian students, skilled professionals and dependents of Indian diplomats which the British official assured would be looked into.
"Both India and the UK laid emphasis on cooperation on anti-terrorism mechanism and to strengthen mutual support to check cyber crimes. Both sides agreed to finalise these arrangements," he said.
The first home-affairs dialogue between India and the UK was held as a follow-up to British Prime Minister Theresa May's visit here in November 2016 during which she had wide- ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two PMs had then decided on such a dialogue.
On criminal data sharing and strengthening cooperation in tackling serious and organised crimes, the two sides expressed their satisfaction over the existing level of cooperation.
They also agreed to enhance and strengthen further bilateral cooperation and work towards formalising the arrangements.
The British side conveyed that it has been their?constant endeavour to improve the visa process to promote people-to- people exchanges that exist between the two countries.
Prasad said the visiting delegation also briefed about the progress regarding the?registered travellers and other schemes that were announced during the British PM's visit in 2016.
Counter-terrorism cooperation between India and Britain, besides a host of other issues figured during deliberations.
Matters relating to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, strengthening of the intelligence sharing mechanism and visa- related issues were also deliberated upon, the sources said.
61-year-old Mallya, who has been living in Britain since last year, was arrested by Scotland Yard last month at India's request for his extradition.
Within hours of his arrest, Mallya, who is accused of cheating and fraud, was released on bail by a London court.
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will argue the case on behalf of the Indian authorities when it comes up before the court.
Mallya, whose defunct Kingfisher Airlines allegedly owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to various banks, had fled India on March 2, 2016. He has since been declared as a proclaimed offender by a Mumbai court.
India and the UK signed an extradition treaty in 1992, but so far only one person has been sent back under it. Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel was extradited last October to face trial for his alleged involvement in the post-Godhra Gujarat riots of 2002.
However, unlike Mallya, Patel had submitted to the extradition order without offering legal challenge. India had made a formal extradition request for Mallya through a note verbale, a diplomatic communication, on February 8.
Mehrishi lauded the UK's effort for helping in the Mallya case and offered New Delhi's help to the prosecution in pursuing the case in London.
The sources said India told the British delegation if one-on-one contact could be established between the prosecuting agency in India and the Crown Prosecution or Department of Prosecution, it would be speedier and easier to present evidence before the judge concerned.
The Indian side said authorities here will inform the UK about the proceedings or court hearings happening in cases of criminals wanted by Britain living in India and wanted it to be reciprocated.
Both sides agreed to sign an MoU in July on reworking the agreement on security cooperation.
India also offered to drop cases registered against a Bangladeshi national, who is lodged in Assam, so he can be extradited to England.
Sources said India expected reciprocity from England. If people wanted here are facing criminal charges in Britain, those should be dropped and their extradition facilitated, they said.
Asked whether the issue of funds being provided to Pakistan-based terror groups by some individuals and organisations based in the UK was raised, Prasad said both the sides agreed to improve security cooperation in all relevant issues.
On fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim getting support from some groups based in the UK, Prasad said the issue was already taken up at earlier meetings between investigating agencies of the UK and India.