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'UK may link extradition of Nirav, Mallya with illegal migrant pact'

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

New Delhi: The UK may link the extradition process of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and liquor baron Vijay Mallya with the signing of a much-delayed agreement that will facilitate deportation of over 75,000 Indians who are allegedly illegally staying there, officials said today.

The issue of the final signing of the memorandum of understanding on illegal immigrants was raised by UK Minister of State for Countering Extremism Baroness Williams during her talks with Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju here yesterday.

During the hour-long talks, Williams stressed the need for formal signing of the MoU to enable the return of illegal Indian migrants within a month of their detection by the British authorities, an official privy to the development said.

The Indian side raised the issue of extradition of Nirav Modi, Mallya and others to face law here.

"We afraid they may link the process of extradition of Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and others with the signing of the MoU," the official said.

In the meeting between Rijiju and Williams, the UK side confirmed the presence of Nirav Modi in Britain.

Rijiju had signed a draft agreement on the issue of illegal immigrants in London on January 10 while the formal MoU was supposed to be inked during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UK in April.

However, New Delhi has delayed the signing of the final agreement, apparently due to the concerns raised by certain quarters in the government, another official said.

Rijiju signed the draft agreement following the approval of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Modi late last year.

Another official said this was perhaps one of the few instances when India delayed formalising a bilateral agreement despite signing the draft deal.

The range of concerns include fear of mass deportation, a consent clause and possible security breaches.

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