Unpleasant homecoming

Vijay Mallya should be on his way home. This is a good signal from the Government to economic criminals

After a long-winded process through the English courts, it finally appears that fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s last and final appeal against extradition to India has been exhausted. Despite a last-minute tweet and the use of some pliable retired judges to argue against the extradition, just as that other fugitive Nirav Modi is doing, Mallya seems to have run out of options now. He can still approach the European Court of Human Rights but that court has not usually fallen on the side of those accused of financial crimes. The exhaustive appeal process, where the Government of India has been assisted by the British Government and Home Secretary Priti Patel, has been thorough. The assistance of her Majesty’s Government has been welcome. It is good that the British Government is finally taking a stand against such fugitives from justice and who are making London their home.

One should not suppose that Mallya will be found guilty by the Indian justice system. He must be given a fair trial for he might well be innocent. It is, however, certain that some facts and details will emerge during the case that might leave several politicians, bureaucrats and bankers with red faces. Indeed, some of them might even not want their complicity to emerge. This is why Mallya ought to be given proper security as well as healthcare facilities when he is extradited to India. It is also important that all prisoners being brought back to the country are kept safe from the Coronavirus, which is spreading like wildfire in certain prisons here and across the world, too. It is particularly appropriate in these times of strife brought about by the virus that economic crimes are prosecuted. When millions are in economic distress, those who have stolen money from Indian banks and, thus, the taxpayers, must be made to pay for their crimes if they are successfully prosecuted. However, India must work towards improving prison facilities to ensure that future extradition cases do not drag. This is not just for economic offenders alone. Possibly India should seriously consider having separate types of jails for different types of offenders and criminals. White-collar non-violent criminals should have different jail facilities. This may not be an idea that can be implemented quickly but it must be something that the Home Ministry should look at going forward.

Source: The Pioneer

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