The British government has confirmed that they will not be deporting business tycoon Vijay Mallya back to India, who has been accused of owing state banks in the country £900 million ($1.3bn) in debt. The owner of the collapsed Kingfisher Airlines has been making international headlines since leaving India in March as banks attempted to recover the unpaid loans from him.
Mallya has reportedly been in the UK since 2 March, where his children live, prompting a number of Indians to question how the government let him slip out of the country. In April, the Indian government revoked Mallya's passport and issued a formal request to the UK government to have him deported, which is a faster process than extradition. However, the UK government has confirmed that British laws prevent them from deporting the businessman.
According to Indian broadcaster NDTV, a statement from the ministry of external affairs stated: "The UK government has informed us that under the 1971 Immigration Act, the UK does not require an individual to hold a valid passport in order to remain in the UK if they have extant leave to remain as long as their passport was valid when leave to remain or enter the UK was conferred."
However, the UK government confirmed that it acknowledged the "seriousness of the allegations" against Mallya and that it was willing to assist the government of India in legal assistance or extradition.
Earlier this month, Mallya spoke to the Financial Times in his first official interview since leaving India in March. Hitting out at accusations that he was living in luxury despite being in debt to India's banks, Mallya defended his lifestyle and said there was no need for adjustment based on the collapse of Kingfisher.
Mallya told the Financial Times: "One of the businesses I was involved in failed, sadly. There were other businesses that still exist, which are hugely successful. Should I, therefore, be a hypocrite? Because one of these businesses failed, should I live my life differently? It is what it is."
Mallya has consistently taken to Twitter to defend himself since leaving India, insisting that he had not fled the country. Shortly after leaving the country, he said on Twitter that he was an "international businessman" and "travels frequently", as well as promising at the time to "comply with the law of the land".