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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Court extends judicial custody of youth

PTI  New Delhi, January 09, 2014
First Published: 19:24 IST(9/1/2014) | Last Updated: 20:03 IST(9/1/2014)

A Delhi court on Thursday extended till February 6 the judicial custody of a youth seeking trial in India for an alleged driving offence committed in Australia in 2008 in which one person lost his life.

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Twenty-four-year-old Puneet was produced before additional chief metropolitan magistrate Sudesh Kumar after expiry of his judicial custody and the court will hear arguments on the plea on February 6.

The Centre had earlier opposed his plea seeking trial here saying the petition "is an abuse of the process of law and an attempt to delay extradition proceedings".

In its reply, filed through advocates AK Vali and Naveen Kumar Matta, the Centre had said, "It is entirely the prerogative of the government to take appropriate decision on extraditing or refusing to extradite a fugitive criminal."

Puneet is accused of having hit his speeding car into a footpath in Australia in 2008, seriously injuring two pedestrians, one of whom later succumbed to injuries.

He was arrested in Punjab on November 29 last year after a court here issued an arrest warrant against him in pursuance of an extradition request by Australian authorities.

Puneet had argued that his trial should be conducted in India as there was a threat to his life in Australia.

His counsel had claimed that Puneet was pressed in Australia into pleading guilty to the alleged offences and was afraid he would be convicted if he was sent back there.

Puneet had sought for his trial to be conducted in India as he felt a "threat to his life in Australia due to racist attitude of Australians towards Indian citizens".

According to the red-corner notice issued against him, Puneet was driving a sedan in Australia's Southbank on October 1, 2008, at a speed of 148 kmph when he struck a concrete pillar, leading to the death of one person.

The notice also stated that Puneet had left Australia on June 12, 2009, on an Indian passport belonging to one of his friends.

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