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In a setback to India's efforts for the extradition of former naval officer Ravi Shankaran, key accused in the 2006 Navy war room leak case, a top UK court has rejected the CBI's request on grounds of inconclusive and non-admissible evidence.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which acts on behalf of foreign governments in such matters, told HT that it was for the CBI to decide if they wanted the service to appeal against the rejection order.
The CBI can appeal through the CPS in Britain's Supreme Court within 14 days.
Besides rejecting Shankaran's extradition, the high court ordered the CBI to pay Shankaran over `1 crore in legal costs.
The court held that prima facie there was no case against Shankaran, and noted that hearing in the case was yet to begin in India.
Shankaran's extradition had earlier been cleared by British Home Secretary Theresa May.
The CBI had not recorded a key statement against Shankaran under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), under which such testimonies are deemed as admissible evidence in Indian courts and it may have proved costly to it.
"The court did not find the statement of Ravi Shankaran's former aide, Kushwaha, who had confirmed that the latter had received emails containing leaked, classified secrets. The UK court said the statement was not corroborated by other witnesses, though a lower court there had upheld the statement as reliable last year," said the source.
The aide's statement was recorded under section 161 of the CrPC that is merely a custodial statement.
"We are examining the contents of the 70-page order of the UK court after which we may go in appeal in the Supreme Court," said a CBI source.
CBI's spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said, "After taking legal opinion, we will take a suitable course of action."