After several attempts to bring back liquor baron Vijay Mallya to India from the UK failed, Indian authorities are now contemplating the use of an old treaty signed between the two countries that allows legal assistance in criminal cases. The former Kingfisher Airlines chief has been declared a "proclaimed offender" in his homeland over alleged money laundering cases following the collapse of the airlines.
The 60-year-old flew to the UK, where he has held a right of residency since the 1990s, after Indian authorities intensified efforts to recover almost $1.4bn (£1.07 bn) his failed airlines owes to 17 different financial institutions in India.
The Indian foreign affairs ministry is currently discussing with legal experts the option of using the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) signed with the UK in 1995 as a workaround to bring back Mallya, often referred to as the Richard Branson of India, NDTV reported. Even after Mallya's passport has been revoked, he could not be deported from the UK to India as British laws do not require a person to hold a valid passport during his stay in the country if the passport was valid at the time of entry.
The treaty was signed between the two countries to enable cooperation in legal matters, including information exchange, and identification and examination of wanted people to combat criminal activities. The investigators involved in the case are hopeful that the treaty could finally help them bring back Mallya to the country to face the courts, which he has been avoiding for the past few months.
Police have already issued a non-bailable warrant against the tycoon, who has called it a "politically motivated" action. The Enforcement Directorate, which probes financial crimes in India, had also moved to seize many Mallya properties in India, some of which he managed to sell off before seizure, according to local media reports.
In July, the Patiala House Court in capital Delhi had instructed Mallya to face the court on 9 September after he made a public appearance during the British Grand Prix in Silverstone.