By Radhika M


The theory of territorial sovereignty is a well established principle. A country can exercise its sovereignty only in its territory. If it does otherwise, it is like questioning the authority of a sovereign nation. That is where the principles of granting asylum and extradition arise.

Extradition is the process in which an accused or convict who has escaped from the territory of prosecuting nation to a foreign state is brought to the former. To extradite an accused or convict from a foreign nation, a formal request has to be filed.

Usually nations extradite accused or convicts between them either based on the treaty entered in to by them or based on the rule of reciprocity. The extradition procedures may differ according to the methods adopted by each country or the treaty entered in to by them.

But there are some general principles in international law, which all countries normally follow. It is a matter of mutual cooperation in tackling crimes and to achieve the ends of justice , countries extradite the sought persons.

India has entered in to extradition treaties with 47 countries and has extradition agreements with 11 countries.

Under the general principles of International Law an accused or a convict won’t be extradited if he is accused of a

  • Political crime
  • Military crime
  • Religious crime

Also the offence charged against the accused must satisfy the following:

  • Double Criminality : The offence for which the accused is sought for , must be an offence in the state where the accused is found. That is the extradition granting state must also regard the alleged act as an offence.
  • Principle of Specialty : If the extradition of the accused is granted, the accused must be tried only for the offence
  • Prima Facie case : There must be a prima facie case against the requested person and he must be answerable to it
  • Human Rights : The extradition will be granted only if the Requested State is satisfied that the requested person wont be subjected to inhumane treatments in the Requesting country(Normally, European countries require it).

Some of the famous extradition cases fought by India are:

The Vijay Mallya Extradition case

Mr. Vijay Mallya was the owner of the Kingfisher Airlines. In the year of 2013, a consortium of 13 banks led by State Bank of India allowed a loan of Rs.6000 Crore to the Mallya owned United Breweries Holdings Ltd and King Fisher Airlines.

Apparently the Company failed to repay the due amount and didn’t provide salaries to the employees. The consortium of banks approached the Supreme Court and a non-bailable warrant was already issued against him by a Court in Mumbai in relation to the case registered by Enforcement Directorate for tax evasion.

In 2016, he fled to London, United Kingdom. The Government of India proclaimed him as an accused under The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018. The Act empowers the special Courts to try economic offences which involve more than 100 crores and the offender has fled from the jurisdiction of India.

Apparently , Mr. Mallya was the first person to be declared as a ‘Fugitive Economic Offender’ under the Act. In 2017, India sought the extradition of Mallya from UK, which was allowed.

He was arrested by the London Police and was later released on bail after furnishing bail bond. The extradition case was placed before West Minister Magistrate’s Court in London.

The Single District Judge (SDJ) found that was a prima facie case to answer and Mr. Mallya can be extradited to India, if the Secratary to the State Permits.

The Judge while passing the order rejected the contention of Mallya that he was sought in relation to his political comments and he wont get a fair trial at India, as the Courts are wholly biased in favour of the Government.

As per Article 5(1) of the Extradition Treaty between the Government of Republic of India and the Government of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, extradition may be refused if the offence of which it is requested involves a political character.

Mr. Mallya claimed that he was not indulged in any kind of financial crimes involving misapplication of funds, false representation of financial assets or money laundering. However the Judge opined that the offence for which he was sought didn’t have a political character. And the Courts in India has a reputed character and the Judge found the trial procedure and the facilities in the jail (where he was supposed to be jailed if extradited, Arthur Road jail) to be satisfactory.

The Judge ordered that Mr. Mallya can be extradited to India, against which he preferred an appeal to the High Court.

The High Court in London while disposing the case observed that there is prima facie case in the matters of-

  • How the loans were dispersed as a result of conspiracy by the conspirators.
  • How loans were granted despite the weak financial credentials of Kingfisher Airlines.
  • How loans were advanced eventhough the Airlines didn’t meet with standards put forward by IDBI’s Corporate Loan Policy.
  • Mr.Mallya being a party to the false representations made for inducing the bankers to advance the loan.
  • Mr. Mallya being a party in falsely representing the brand value of Kingfisher Airlines.
  • How Mr. Mallya tried to evade the personal and corporate guarantees provided by him.

So the appeal was rejected and Mallya was ordered to be extradited to India.

Recently, A London Court has refused plea by former liquor baron Vijay Mallya to release INR 7.8 crore from frozen funds in order to pay his legal fees in India.

(He has not been brought back to India, since some legal procedures are pending)

The Nirav Modi Extradition case

Nirav modi was the founder of Firestar Diamond International and was closely associated with the Gitanjali Group. In 2018 the Punjab National Bank (PNB) filed a complaint before Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for the alleged fraud committed by Mr.Nirav Modi, his wife and some of his employees. It was alleged that he defrauded the bank by obtaining fake LoU’s (Letter of Undertaking) worth 11,400 crores with the help of some employees in their Mumbai branch.

These monies were diverted to almost fifteen sham companies founded by him in the overseas. Subsequently CBI probe was launched and Enforcement Directorate (ED) confiscated his assets in India in relation to the embezzlement of money.

Later he fled from India. In June 2018, Interpol issued Red Corner Notice against him for money laundering. Later he was found in United Kingdom and requested a political asylum there.

In August 2018, Indian Government filed a request to extradite him. A Westminister Court issued a warrant against him after which he was arrested. He was denied bail on the ground that he may abscond. Even though he presented bail applications three times afterwards, all of them were rejected.

Nirav Modi contested all the allegations made against him by the Government of India through CBI & ED . He claimed that PNB’s lending was an ordinary commercial transaction and there is nothing deceptive about something which happened in broad day light.

He also claimed that the transaction happened with the knowledge of top most officials of PNB and Government of India is failing to comprehend the wide commercial context of the lending.

The Court found that the offences committed by Nirav Modi comes within the definition of “Extradition offences” under s.137 of Extradition Act, 2003( UK legislation). The Court was satisfied with the facilities in Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai where Nirav Modi will be send to , if extradited.

The Judge also rejected the contention of Nirav Modi that judges in India are corrupted and he wont get a fair trial in the country. It also rejected his claim that he wont get proper treatment for his mental health problems in India. The Court ruled that Nirav Modi can be extradited to India.

(He has not been brought back to India as some legal procedures are pending and he has not exhausted his legal remedies in UK)

The Abu Salem Extradition Case

Abu Salem worked with the D-Company ( Gang of Dawood Ibrahim). He was accused of murders, attempted murders, extortion, drugs dealing , money laundering etc. He was a part of Mumbai Serial blasts case, 1993 which killed more than 250 people.

After the incident he fled to Dubai then to USA and finally ended up in Portugal. A Red Corner Notice was issued against him by Interpol. He was arrested in Portugal for staying there with forged passports and documents.

There was no official extradition treaty between Portugal and India then i.e, in 2002 (The official treaty was signed by both countries only in 2007). So India made a formal request to Portugal for extraditing Abu Salem to India.

The request was made in pursuance of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings to which both India and Portugal are signatories. The extradition request was made by India for the prosecution of the accused in relation to 9 criminal cases.

When the Extradition Trial started in Portugal, Indian Ambassador in Libson (Portugal) gave assurance to the Republic of Portugal that:

  • Abu Salem will not be prosecuted for any offence other than those for which he is sought for and;
  • He will not be re-extradited to any other third country.

Also the Portugal mandated that he should not be imposed with death penalty and an imprisonment more than 25 years cannot be awarded to him.

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Justice granted the extradition request made by India.

Subsequently Abu Salem was extradited to India. But later he approached the Supreme Court of India and Court of Appeals seated at Libson claiming that his extradition became invalid with the fact that Union of India violated the Rule of Speciality.

He contended that additional charges were pressed upon him which is contrary to the extradition order granted by the Portugal. The Supreme Court of Justice observed that Union of India has violated the Principle of Speciality.

And the Supreme Court of India in the case of Abu Salem Abdul Qayyum Ansari v. Central Bureau of Investigation &Anr[1] , observed that the Court in Portugal even though observed that there is violation of Principle of Speciality , also said there is any specific consequence for the violation of the said rule. And it has not sought back the accused through any diplomatic channel. And the order of extradition is still valid.

He again approached a Libson Administrative Court for with the contention his extradition became invalid since the Indian authorities didn’t comply with the directions in the order.

It was dismissed by the Administrative Court and it observed that the issue must be solved through diplomatic discussions. And the Supreme Court of India in January , 2021 rejected his writ petition under Article 32.

The Extradition case of Surjit Badesha and Malkit Kaur Sidhu

The extradition case relates to the abduction and murder of Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu (Jassi). The victim was the daughter of Malkit Kaur and Surjit Badesha is her uncle. All of them were Canadian citizens of Indian origin.

When Jassi came to India for vacation in 1999 she married one Sukhwinder Singh in secrecy. Later she went back to Canada. When her family protested against the marriage , she fled from Canada to India with the help of the Police.

When she was in India, some persons abducted her and thrashed her husband. In June 2000, she was found murdered. Investigation agencies nabbed the accused persons.

But later it was found in the course of investigation that they were people hired by Surjit Badesha and Malkit Kaur to kill their daughter. So Indian authorities sought the extradition of Surjit and Malkit.

The Minister of Justice (Canada) ordered their surrender based on the evidence adduced against them and the assurance given by the Indian authorities that they won’t be mistreated in India. Surjit and Malkit preferred an appeal against the order of Minister in the Court of Appeal, which concluded that the orders of the Minister were unreasonable.

So the Government of India filed an appeal against the said order in the Supreme Court of Canada. Both Surjit and Malkit contested the Appeal on the grounds that-

  • There is no guarantee that, they wont be awarded with death penalty.
  • They wont get a fair trial in India.
  • The prison conditions were against the principles of Fundamental Justice , given their age and health conditions.
  • There were lack of evidence and,
  • Extradition request was sought late in the case of Malkit Kaur.

But the Court observed that the assurance given by India was satisfactory. India assured that , they wont be awarded with death sentence and improved prison conditions.

Taking in to account of those facts and the Extradition treaty between Canada and India, the Court observed that there were many diplomatic actions against India if it failed to keep the given assurances.

So the Court ruled that they wont face a substantial risk or torture in India and allowed the extradition to India.

Surjit Badesha and Malkit Kaur were extradited to India in 2019.

The Extradition of Kishan Singh

Kishan Singh was an Indian Citizen, later he acquired citizenship of United Kingdom in 2015. He was an active player in the international drug syndicate. He was a supplier of narcotic drugs in many countries including India and UK. He was coordinating this supply chain with the help of the Indian Athlete Harpreet Singh and others.

A special cell of Delhi Police was closely monitoring the transactions. Soon a non bailable warrant was issued against him and he was arrested at London. Later the authorities requested his extradition to India. Even though he was granted bail, due to the strong evidence submitted by the Special Cell his extradition request was granted.

The Westminister Magistrate’s court which granted the extradition rejected his arguments in relation to the inhumane conditions prevailing in the Tihar Jail. He also claimed that he wont get a fair trial in the country.

Those claims were rejected and extradition was ordered. Even though he filed an appeal before London High Court and European Court of Human Rights, both appeals were rejected and he was extradited to India.


Extradition cases are a best example for reminding us why we should have better diplomatic ties with other states. Since transactions are happening globally and we are swiftly evolving as a global community, law should also keep up with the pace.

As we have already seen , a bilateral treaty is necessary when we want to speed up the extradition proceedings. Even under the treaties ,no state is bound to extradite a person to another country. So without treaties things may get worse. India has extradition treaties with 47 countries only, so there is a large vacuum.

The endless string of legal procedures may weaken an extradition case. Also the authorities in India must bear in mind that nothing contrary to the extradition order shall be done. It may seriously affect diplomatic ties and future dealings with the country.

With the number of fugitives increasing and finding safe cocoons in foreign countries, it is necessary strong initiatives must be taken by Government of India.


  • Vijay Mallya v. Government of India , [2020] EWHC 924 (Admin)
  • The Government of India v. Nirav Deepak Modi
  • Abu Salem Abdul Qayyum Ansari v. Central Bureau of Investigation &Anr, (2013) 12 SCC 1
  • India v. Badesha, 2017 SCC 44
  1. (2013) 12 SCC 1

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