Australia hit-and-run case: accused remanded in judicial custody | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Australia hit-and-run case: accused remanded in judicial custody

chandigarh Updated: Dec 13, 2013 19:06 IST
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An Indian youth accused of mowing down a teenager in Australia in 2008 was on Friday remanded in judicial custody till December 18 by a Delhi court.

Puneet, 24, who was arrested from Pipli (Haryana) on November 29 after a court here had issued an arrest warrant against him in pursuance to an extradition request received from the Australian authorities, was produced before metropolitan magistrate Sheetal Chaudhary.

The magistrate remanded Puneet in judicial custody till December 18, when the matter related to the extradition request would also be taken up by the court.

Puneet has also filed a plea before the court, contending that his trial be conducted in India "on account of threat to his life in Australia because of racist attitude of Australians towards Indian citizens."

"Further, this court is very well aware of the fact that in 2008 and 2009, so many Indian citizens, especially young students, were murdered and seriously injured in Australia only on account of Australian racism," he alleged.

He also claimed that an award of 1 lakh Australian dollars (around Rs 66 lakh) had been announced there only for providing information about him.

According to the red-corner notice issued against Puneet, he was driving a sedan car in Southbank (Australia) on October 1, 2008, at a speed of 148 km per hour and struck a concrete pillar. Two pedestrians (Dean Hofstee and Clancy Coker), who were walking on the footpath, received grievous injuries in the accident, it said.

Of the two, one (Hofstee) succumbed to the injuries, it said, adding that Puneet had been charged on account of culpable driving causing death and negligently causing serious injury.

The red-corner notice said Puneet had left Australia on June 12, 2009, by using an Indian passport of one of his friends.

The Australian government had sent a request for Puneet's extradition from India through its October 15, 2013, letter.

In his plea, Puneet also said that as per the terms of the Extradition Treaty between the governments of India and Australia, the trial of an accused could also be conducted within the territory of India and the extradition request could be refused if the person could be tried in the requested country (India).

Referring to the Australian law, Puneet said punishment for offences for which he had been charged there was "highly excessive" as it could go up to 40 years' imprisonment.

"It means that the accused will remain in custody for the major part of his life, which is totally in contravention of the provisions of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India," he said.

"Moreover, the interest shown by the Australian government clearly makes out a case of political importance on the part of the government there because they are showing extraordinary interest in the extradition of the accused by pressurising the government of India," the plea said.