The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has initiated an attempt to extradite Abdul Rauf Merchant, who was convicted of killing music baron Gulshan Kumar, almost a year after he absconded to Bangladesh.
Merchant was convicted in 2001 for killing Kumar in 1997. He absconded following his release on furlough in March 2009. A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), confirming that the MEA has started the extradition procedure, said: “... but the same may take time as India does not share an extradition treaty with Bangladesh Government.”
In court on Thursday, Additional Public Prosecutor Mankunwar Deshmukh said that the government was awaiting a report from the authorities in Dhaka.
In the absence of a treaty, the Centre will have to undertake an arduous exercise to get Merchant’s custody.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by Merchant against his conviction and also an application by the Maharashtra government against the acquittal of 16 accused, including filmmaker Ramesh Taurani, due to lack of evidence. Deshmukh said Rauf has confessed to the Bangladesh authorities that he is a convict in the case.
A division bench of Justice P.B. Majmudar and Justice R.G. Ketkar suggested that the government request Bangladesh to deport Rauf. Justice Majmudar said: “[Bangladesh] can deport a person who does not have a valid visa or passport.”
The court asked the MEA to complete the process at the earliest and scheduled a hearing in April. The court also suggested that the government consider taking action against the person who stood surety for Rauf.