London court to hear plea on Shankaran's extradition
A crucial hearing on India's plea seeking extradition of Ravi Shankaran, a key accused in the infamous Naval War Room leak case, will take place in a London court tomorrow.delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2010 18:39 IST
A crucial hearing on India's plea seeking extradition of Ravi Shankaran, a key accused in the infamous Naval War Room leak case, will take place in a London court on Monday.
Shankaran, who was arrested in April this year after being pursued by the CBI for four years and has been confined to a make-shift residence after being granted bail by a court, would be facing charges of being involved in leaking sensitive information to arms dealers from the Naval war room for personal gains.
46-year-old Shankaran, a close kin of the former Naval Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, was declared a proclaimed offender by a Delhi court four years ago and a Interpol notice was issued against him in 2006.
His trial will be held in the London's Westminster Magistrates' Court where India's extradition request listing his alleged role in the crime would be heard, official sources said.
Shankaran appeared in the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on April 22 on an International arrest warrant and basically remains in custody and currently on court bail. According to the British law, court bail is a process under which an accused is confined to his residence with a police guard being posted outside and is not allowed to meet anyone.
The CBI, which has gone unrepresented in two hearings, had sought assistance of the Crown Prosecutor Services now to represent the case in the British court for his extradition which was necessary for the Naval war room leak case to unravel the missing links, the sources said.
The CBI had registered a case on March 20, 2006 against former IAF Wing Commander Sambhaji Rao Surve, Shankaran, ex-naval Commanders Vinod Kumar Jha and Vinod Rana, Raj Rani Jaiswal, Mukesh Bajaj, Wing Commander (retired) S K Kohli, Kashyap Kumar and Kulbushan Parashar.
The case against these nine persons was registered under various sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Barring Jaiswal, Bajaj and Kashyap Kumar, chargesheets have been filed against all the others. The CBI has prepared documents for closing the case against the trio as nothing could be found against them.
The CBI had earlier in 2006 sought arrest of Shankaran after he was spotted in Britain. However, he managed to give slip to the London Police after a UK court issued an arrest warrant against him.
Shankaran, against whom a chargesheet was filed by the CBI in 2006, did not return to Britain after the arrest warrant for him was issued on April 10, 2007.
After trailing him for over four months, the CBI found him in Sweden. This prompted the agency to send an alert to the Swedish wing of Interpol for his immediate detention but he managed to give a slip to the sleuths again. He had been criss-crossing Europe without a valid passport as the External Affairs Ministry revoked his travel document on May one, 2006.
The CBI had on September 12, 2006 attached Shankaran's property and bank accounts after he failed to appear before the agency for questioning. This included his office -- Shanks Oceanographic Pvt Ltd in Goa -- and accounts with HSBC Bank of a firm called Besix India, which belonged to him.
The agency conducted raids at his residence and offices in April 2006 after arresting former naval Commander Kulbushan Parashar at Indira Gandhi International Airport here on his arrival from London. A proclamation notice asking Shankaran to appear before the CBI for questioning was published in The Times of London on August 11, 2006.