Oz hit-and-run: Accused youth to oppose extradition on medical grounds | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Oz hit-and-run: Accused youth to oppose extradition on medical grounds

chandigarh Updated: Jun 29, 2015 23:17 IST
PTI
Melbourne

A Panchkula youth, who allegedly mowed down an Australian student and injured another in a 2008 hit-and-run case here, will fight attempts to extradite him from India, citing his medical condition, a media report said on Monday.

Puneet Kumar, 26, was granted bail in New Delhi late last month and his legal team is arguing that he should be tried in India, where the potential jail sentence for culpable driving is one-tenth of what it could be in Victoria, ABC News reported.

Puneet is accused of killing 19-year-old Queensland student Dean Hofstee under the influence of alcohol. Puneet, who was driving at 148 km per hour, also injured 20-year-old Clancy Coker in the incident.

He pleaded guilty to culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury, but while on bail awaiting sentencing, fled to India in 2009 on his friend's passport. He was arrested by the Punjab police from Panipat in 2013.

After his arrest and awaiting extradition, he was released on bail last month on the basis of a medical report that said he is suffering from potentially life-threatening kidney condition glomerulonephritis.

"What is the purpose of taking him (from) India to Australia... and there also he is admitted in the hospital?" Puneet's lawyer Kanhaiya Singhal said, adding that his client was willing to face trial in India.

According to his jail medical records, Puneet was suffering from the illness before he was imprisoned and his condition was not improving despite treatment.

Prosecution sources were quoted as saying that it would be very difficult to challenge the order that granted Puneet bail and that they were focusing their efforts on the extradition proceedings.

As part of his bail, Puneet is required to appear at future extradition hearings. His lawyer said his client would appear if his health permitted as he did not want to avoid justice.

"He is not going to run away," Singhal said, adding that "he will face the trial, face the extradition hearing till the end." He added that Puneet was being treated in a Delhi hospital.

Puneet's parents said their son fled Australia because he had no money after he lost his job, and was facing racist attacks.

"When he was there, all newspapers published his photos after the accident," his father Naresh Kumar said.
"After that, there were racial attacks on him, people came to his house and attacked him," he said.

Puneet's legal team is fighting his extradition on several other grounds, including that he may be subjected to racist attacks if he returns to Melbourne.

"They will kill him in jail because there is racism there and discrimination exists between white and black. It was there before and it exists till today," his father said.

India and Australia signed a new extradition treaty in 2011.

Arrested in 2013

Puneet Kumar, 26, is accused of killing 19-year-old Queensland student Dean Hofstee under the influence of alcohol in a 2008 hit-and-run case. Puneet, who was driving at 148 km per hour, also injured 20-year-old Clancy Coker in the incident

He pleaded guilty to culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury, but while on bail awaiting sentencing, fled to India in 2009 on his friend's passport. He was arrested by the Punjab police from Panipat in 2013.Puneet was granted bail in New Delhi late last month; his legal team is arguing that he should be tried in India.