By Rakesh Dubbudu
The government has sought custody of liquor baron Vijay Mallya from the UK, but Indias success rate at extradition has been no more than 36 per cent over 15 years, according to a report by Factly.in, a data journalism portal. This means India managed one extradition of every three sought.
While 62 fugitives have been extradited to India from a foreign country between 2002 and 2016, 110 fugitives are yet to be extradited though a formal request has been made by India, according to an answer to the Lok Sabha on December 6, 2016, Factly reported.
Mallya was arrested by the Scotland Yard -- and released on bail -- on April 18, 2017, in connection with an extradition request filed by India on February 8, 2017. The UK government has sent the request to the concerned court, and the arrest marks the beginning of the extradition process.
Mallya is wanted in several cases related to economic offences in India. The now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines that he set up owes over Rs 9,000 crore ($1.5 billion) to state-owned and private banks, it has been widely reported.
There were 16 extradition requests pending with UK as of July 2016, according to an answer to the Lok Sabha. Only one fugitive has been extradited from the UK -- Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, an Indian citizen, for murder; the extradition came in October 2016, 23 years after India's extradition treaty with the UK came into force in 1993.
The highest extraditions happened from the UAE (18), followed by the US (9). While four each were extradited from Canada and Thailand, three have been extradited from Germany and South Africa.
India has extradition treaties with 47 countries, among them Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, Oman, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, the Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
India also has extradition arrangements with nine countries -- Croatia, Fiji, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Sweden and Tanzania.
What is the process of extradition?
A request for extradition can be initiated against a fugitive criminal who is formally accused of, charged with or convicted of an extradition offence. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) takes up extradition requests with the concerned foreign countries when a request for extradition is received from the relevant law enforcement agencies in India.
All extradition requests should be supported by documents and information as prescribed by the MEA guidelines. It has to be noted that each extradition request is different and the request is dependent on the specific treaty/agreement signed with a country. The offence should also be defined in the list of the extradition offences.
What are the offences defined in the extradition treaty with UK?
The extradition treaty signed in 1993 with the UK defines the scope of the extradition offence as one which is punishable by law for a term of imprisonment of at least one year. The treaty does not classify political offences as extradition offences but it provides an exhaustive list of offences that will not be treated as a political offence.
Most fugitives extradited in 2005
The most (8) fugitives were extradited in 2005 followed by seven each in 2003 and 2004. Six fugitives were extradited in 2015 during the rule of the current government.
Most people extradited for murder & terrorism-related offences
Out of the 62 fugitives extradited since 2002, 14 were for murder-related offences and 10 for offences related to criminal conspiracy.
As many as nine fugitives were extradited for terrorism-related offences, including three from the UAE, in relation to the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts.
(In arrangement with IndiaSpend.org, a data-driven, non-profit, public interest journalism platform. Rakesh Dubbudu has been working on issues related to the Right to Information for a decade. Factly.in is dedicated to making public data meaningful. The views expressed are those of Factly. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)