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  India   All India  13 Jun 2018  UK for illegal migrants pact before Nirav deal

UK for illegal migrants pact before Nirav deal

Published : Jun 13, 2018, 2:01 am IST
Updated : Jun 13, 2018, 2:01 am IST

New Delhi wary of MoU terms.

Nirav Modi
 Nirav Modi

New Delhi: At a time when India has been mounting pressure on the UK for the extradition of fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi and liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the UK government has flagged the issue of a much-delayed agreement between the two countries that would facilitate deportation of 75,000 Indians staying illegally there.

Government sources claimed that the UK may link the extradition of both Modi and Mallya with the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on illegal Indian migrants.

UK government has already confirmed the presence of Modi in their country.

During a meeting between Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju and UK minister of state for countering extremism Baroness Williams on Monday, the Indian side raised the issue of extradition of Modi and Mallya, while Ms Williams is believed to have stressed on the need to finalise the MoU at the earliest. The pact will facilitate sending back illegal Indian migrants within a month, including time taken for verification of their antecedents by Indian security agencies, of their detection.

The draft MoU on illegal migrants was signed by Mr Rijiju and Ms William on January 10 in London. However, the formal agreement which was to be finalised during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in April was delayed after some sections of the Indian government expressed concern over it even though the draft had been cleared by the Union Cabinet.

The draft MoU’s mass deportation and consent clause had also raised concerns. India want inclusion of a consent clause that requires seeking a person’s approval before the process to ascertain his or her nationality can begin.

India is worried that a large number of Indians can be sent back  “without any humanitarian consideration that is shown to economic migrants or irregular migrants who could be in the UK today and in another country the day after”, an official said.

The UK contends that the MoU will streamline the migration process. For instance, it envisages that if the returnee has an Indian passport, the verification should take place in 17 days and if he or she is without a travel document the process of verification should be done in 70 days. In other words, the MoU would be facilitating the return of illegal migrants within a stipulated time. Once the nationality of the person is ascertained to be Indian, the country’s missions should issue an emergency travel certificate.

However, the agreement was put on indefinite hold after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval conveyed that that the time limits for antecedent verification of illegal Indian migrants was unworkable, sources said.

The largest group of illegal migrants in the UK is said to be from India out of which 5,000 returned voluntarily last year while 700 of them were deported. According to the UK, 75,000-1,00,000 illegal Indian migrants are living there, while Indian agencies have put the figure at around 2,000.

Sources claimed that India has clarified to the UK authorities that it will take back only those individuals whose Indian nationality is established beyond reasonable doubt. 

Tags: nirav modi, vijay mallya