British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith said Wednesday that extradition of economic offenders to India from London is a judicial matter and the courts would address that.
Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in India for Kingfisher Airlines’ default on loans worth nearly Rs 9,000 crore, has been in the UK since March 2016.
India has been pressing for cooperation from Britain in extradition of as many as 13 individuals, including Mallya, former IPL honcho Lalit Modi and cricket bookie Sanjiv Chawla.
“This is a legal-judicial matter, not one for the government to talk in separation…It is going through courts (and) the courts will address it in the way they do,” he said here at a function.
He was replying to a question relating to several Indian economic offenders finding safe haven in Britain. He was speaking at a panel discussion organised by UKIBC.
On potential areas for increasing economic relations between the two countries, Asquith said that technology, climate, security and defence are some of the important sectors to enhance cooperation.
Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Ramesh Abhishek said that SMEs (small and medium enterprises) present one of the biggest opportunities for both the nations.
Technology, innovation and startups also hold a lot of scope for increasing collaboration, he said.
Abhishek said that lot of British companies had invested in India when business environment was somewhat complicated and now as the government has worked on significantly improving the investment climate. “The environment today presents much more opportunity for companies then ever before.”
When asked about issues related to retrospective taxation, he said the government is committed that no tax issue should impact business environment.
On foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence sector, the secretary said efforts are being made to streamline the defence procurement process.
He said that private sector is getting orders from defence public sector units.
Richard Heald, Group CEO, UKIBC, said that British companies in India are giving feedback that things are improving here.
But, he said that issues related to smooth implementation of GST and food beverages including alcohol which is not under the new indirect tax regime need to be looked at.
The bilateral trade between the countries dipped to US$ 12.2 billion in 2016-17 from USD 14 billion in the previous fiscal.
India has received US$ 25.3 billion FDI from the UK during April 2000 and December 2017.