It’s not just the Modis — Nirav and Lalit — and the Mallyas of India who have sought refuge in the Queen’s land, aka the United Kingdom. Over 5,500 people from India have sought political asylum in Britain since 2013, not all of them criminals though.
So why do Indians make a beeline for London?
A matter of rights: UK is a signatory to European Convention on Human Rights—if UK courts deem that a person to be extradited is likely to face torture or death penalty, or the extradition is due to political reasons, they may deny the extradition request.
Greenery in the pocket: Some prominent Indians who’ve sought refuge in UK have been men of considerable financial means—music director Nadeem Saifi, former IPL administrator Lalit Modi, Kingfisher Airlines’ Vijay Mallya, and, the most recent, diamantaire Nirav Modi, accused of perpetrating the biggest fraud on Indian banking system, of $2 billion.
The billionaire jeweller has asked for political asylum, claiming what he says is ‘political persecution’ back home, according to a Financial Times report.
Unequal standards: India and UK signed a mutual extradition treaty way back in 1993; but while India did extradite a UK national, Maninderpal Singh Kohli, in the Hannah Foster murder case in 2008, UK has been stonewalling all of India’s extradition requests, including that of British national Raymond Varley, who’s accused of child abuse in Goa.
Asylum on lease: If Nirav Modi, who’s now fled to UK and is said to be seeking asylum there, is granted his request, he can stay there worry-free for at least five years—after which it can be extended.