India and Saudi Arabia are going to soon have an extradition treaty to deny underworld fugitives such as Dawood Ibrahim one more hideout, and a very popular one at that.
“The draft agreement has been finalised and the treaty will be signed soon,” a home ministry official told Hindustan Times. The final touches were given during a visit of a Saudi delegation on January 15-16.
<b1>India has been extremely keen on an extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia for many years, but the two countries were unable to breast the tape for one reason or the other.
Underworld figures such as Dawood, who is wanted in India for the 1993 bomb bombings in Mumbai, have often been spotted in Saudi Arabia.
An Indian diplomat recalled finding Dawood at the next table at a Riyadh diner some years ago. The extradition treaty will enable New Delhi to seek Dawood’s arrest and extradition if and when he is seen there next.
West Asian countries have been popular with fleeing Indian underworld figures or those planning attacks against India.
United Arab Emirates, for instance, was a great favourite of these fugitives until India signed an extradition treaty with the kingdom in 1999.
On a request from New Delhi, UAE arrested and handed over underworld don Aftab Ansari wanted in India for the bombing of the American Centre in Kolkata in 2002.
Security agencies have maintained many people arrested with terror connections in India had visited Saudi Arabia and collaborated with their contacts there for funding as well.
“The treaty signed with the UAE has helped us in bringing down subversive activities directed against India,” said the home ministry official.
India is also negotiating such treaties with Israel and Iran, said the official.
Some countries that India has extradition treaties with are Nepal, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Bhutan, Hong Kong, U.S.A, Spain and Turkey.