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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Killer Indian driver's family to fight Oz extradition

AFP  New Delhi, February 20, 2014
First Published: 14:54 IST(20/2/2014) | Last Updated: 23:16 IST(20/2/2014)

An Indian man who fled Australia after killing a teenager while driving under the influence of liquor was sent back to prison on Thursday as a New Delhi court again delayed his extradition hearing.

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Puneet, 24, was handcuffed and led away to Tihar jail amid emotional scenes at the Patiala House court complex, where his family members vowed never to give up the fight against his extradition.

Puneet's father told AFP that he did not have faith in the justice system in Australia, where he claimed racism, particularly against Indians, was rampant.

"We only trust the Indian legal system, there is racism in Australia...don't you know of so many racist attacks and how they look at Indians?" Naresh Kumar said outside the court.

The case was adjourned shortly after Puneet appeared in the court, as one of his lawyers failed to appear.

The case has been adjourned on three previous occasions too.  Puneet, who only had a provisional driver's licence at the time of the crash, hit two students, aged 19 and 20, as they walked across a road in Melbourne in 2008. One of the students died on the spot.

Australian police estimated Puneet was driving at 148 kilometres (92 miles) an hour -- more than double the legal limit in the area. He also tested positive for alcohol.

Puneet had been charged with culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury, then bailed on strict conditions including the surrender of his passport.

But he later fled using a fellow Indian's passport. Australian police offered a reward in 2012 for information leading to his arrest.

After four years on the run from police in India, he was discovered in late November in Noida, near Delhi. The next hearing of the case is on March 19.

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