A blunder by Federal Minister for Science & Technology Fawad Chaudhry was called out by the host of the show he had appeared on to talk about the extradition of deposed prime minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif, who was last year allowed by the government to travel abroad to seek medical treatment despite his conviction in corruption cases.
As per the details, Fawad, who was speaking to journalist Shahzad Iqbal during the latter’s show on Geo News, was asked if the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was hopeful that its efforts to get Nawaz extradited would bear fruit.
“India is a prominent power with influence and you agree. But we have the example of Indian businessman Vijay Mallya who is accused of corruption worth Rs90 billion and has been convicted in the contempt case against him. They [Indian authorities] have time and again been requesting the British authorities to extradite Vijay Mallya but to no avail,” Iqbal said.
Indian businessman and former lawmaker Mallya is the subject of an extradition effort by New Delhi to bring him back from the UK to face charges of financial crimes in India. Mallya is a former owner of the Royal Challengers Bangalore cricket team. He is also one of the four prominent business magnates of India on the lives of which the 2020 Netflix original documentary web-series “Bad Boy Billionaires” focuses.
Citing another example, the journalist spoke of former Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia’s son, Tarique Rahman, who too was allowed to seek treatment abroad despite his conviction in a grenade attack case from 2004 on top of financial crimes accusations, and was never sent back by the UK regardless of Bangladeshi authorities’ requests.
“You are absolutely right but Vijay Mallya was recently extradited. What you are saying is right and that was why I was against permitting Nawaz to travel abroad,” Fawad said in response to Iqbal who appeared shocked over the minister’s ill-informed claim regarding the Indian businessman’s extradition.
“I haven’t read anything about Vijay Mallya’s extradition. The case is in the Supreme Court. Who told you this?” the journalist asked.
Attempting to brush it off, Fawad said he had read “something somewhere” and thought Mallya had been extradited, and told the journalist to take a look, over which Iqbal requested the minister to share the source with him. “I will also read it because as far as I know, Vijay Mallya has not yet been extradited.”
The minister’s err moment was followed by both Iqbal and Fawad telling each other to “Google it”.
Here’s what The Current discovered when we Googled it:
“The Indian government has been informed that there is a ‘confidential legal matter’ without whose resolution the extradition of embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya is not possible to India from Britain, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday, adding that India is not a party to that matter. The MEA also said that Mallya’s avenues for appeal against extradition have already been exhausted and that India is in touch with Britain on the issue of his extradition to India,” reads an early October report by the Deccan Chronicle.