In a major setback for the government, Britain on Tuesday told that it cannot deport liquor baron Vijay Mallya under its laws, but has offered to help new Delhi in extraditing him.
"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," the ministry of external affairs said in a statement.
It may be recalled that Mallya's passport was cancelled last month. He is wanted in India for over a billion dollars in unpaid loans and a formal deportation request was sent to London from New Delhi.
The 60-year-old Mallya is also being investigated for money-laundering. He left India for London on March 2 this year as several banks tried to recover the money he owes them. Mallya has not paid any heeds to a series of court orders to return to India to face investigations.
"The UK acknowledges the seriousness of the allegations and is keen to assist Government of India. They have asked GoI (Government of India) to consider requesting mutual legal assistance or extradition," the ministry said in its statement.
For his part, Mallya has denied any wrongdoing and has clearly said that he is not planning to return to India anytime soon. He described his status as "forced exile" and blamed banks for several repayment plans offered by him.
Last week, he resigned from Rajya Sabha too. "I don't want my name and reputation to be further dragged in the mud and since recent events suggest that I will not get a fair trial or justice, I am hereby resigning as a member of the Rajya Sabha with immediate effect," the tycoon wrote in his resignation letter.