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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Ravi Shankaran loses appeal against UK extradition

PTI  London, March 27, 2013
First Published: 17:50 IST(27/3/2013) | Last Updated: 10:20 IST(28/3/2013)

A British Court on Wednesday rejected the appeal filed by Naval War Room leak case key accused Ravi Shankaran, a relative of former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, against his extradition to India.

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District Judge Nicholas Evans at Westminster Magistrates Court here said in his ruling that "a case to answer has been made out" against the accused and his verdict can now be sent to the UK Home Secretary Theresa May, who will make the final decision on issuing an extradition order.

Shankaran's defence team said he would be appealing against the ruling, to which Judge Evans clarified that an appeal can now only be made on the decision of the Secretary of State, who has two months from the date of the court ruling to issue her order.

Meanwhile, the 46-year-old retired naval commander has been remanded on conditional bail, which includes the requirement to live at a new UK address he provided to the court today, a deposit of 20,000 pounds and no right to foreign travel.

Shankaran is a key accused in the case of leaking classified information from the War Room to arms dealers. He has been absconding since the case was registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in March 2006.

The CBI revoked his passport in May that year and secured a Red Corner Notice against him after filing a charge-sheet in July 2006.

An extradition request was sent to the UK in 2007 following reports that he was in the country and he was arrested by UK authorities in April 2010 on the basis of the non-bailable arrest warrants issued by the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi.

The UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had argued the CBI's case that there was substantial evidence to extradite the accused for a trial in India.

Shankaran's defence team, led by James Lewis QC, had claimed at the last hearing on February 8 that some of the evidence should be ruled inadmissible and also that their client's human rights were at a "real risk" of being impinged due to the endemic delays in the Indian judicial system.

Delivering his verdict, Judge Evans said,"The court is concerned with English rules of law and evidence that may be inadmissible in India is not a relevant consideration... no new evidence has been presented that deals a knock-out blow to the prima facie case to answer".

He also dismissed Shankaran's claims that the CBI had gone "out of the way to cover up false and fabricated evidence" as having no "merit whatsoever".

The judge said extradition hearings are bound by good faith between sovereign states and that he is confident that if the prosecution in India no longer felt there was "credible and admissible" evidence against the accused, then it was their duty to end the proceedings and withdraw the extradition request.


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