New Delhi: India has made it absolutely clear to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the extradition of fugitive wrongdoers is a “high priority” for New Delhi.
For his part, PM Johnson, too, was forthcoming, and his words were assuring enough.
“We welcome people who have talent and brilliance coming from India to the UK, we don’t welcome — I want to make it absolutely clear now — we don’t welcome people who want to use our legal system to evade the law here in India. So, let me be absolutely clear about that,” Johnson said at the media briefing.
Briefing reporters, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, “On the issue of economic offenders, we have been pursuing this matter for some time at different levels with the UK. Our objective is to bring back those economic fugitives wanted in India to face justice in the country, and the matter did come up. It was conveyed that this is a high priority.”
He further said, “Prime Minister Johnson indicated that he was very sensitive to Indian concerns.”
Vijay Mallya is fighting the extradition case in a UK court, while two others Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are also facing the legal process.
In total, the Centre, in 2020, said efforts were on to extradite 72 fugitives to India from the UK and other countries. Another accused, Lalit Modi, was last reported to be living in London.
Answering questions from journalists, Shringla said, “I am also responding to the issue of, you mentioned, Khalistani anti-India activists, who take advantage of freedoms that are offered by democracy such as ours. And in that context, I think this point was raised quite clearly and I think Prime Minister Johnson, as I said,
took careful note of that.”
“Mr Johnson said he was very sensitive to our concerns in this regard. And that he would have a close look at that. As far as he was concerned, there is zero tolerance for such people who create issues and that could impact on the relationship between both our countries,” the Foreign Secretary said.
Responding to questions about the extradition of fugitives Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya, Johnson said, “I think there are legal technicalities that have made it very, very difficult but what I can tell you is that the UK government has ordered their extradition and we have said that from our point of view, we want them to be taken back to India for trial.”