India has geolocated 184 fugitives abroad; efforts on to bring them back
India has already coordinated the return of at least 24 fugitives this year; over 65 such persons have been brought back since 2021
New Delhi: India has geolocated 184 criminals in various countries and initiated formal proceedings for their return with the help of Interpol and respective countries’ law enforcement agencies, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Friday even as a team led by agency director Praveen Sood and National Investigation Agency (NIA) chief Dinkar Gupta stressed at the Interpol 91st general assembly in Vienna “to deny any safe havens for crime, criminals and proceeds of crimes”.
The federal anti corruption probe agency has already coordinated the return of at least 24 fugitives this year; over 65 such persons have been brought back since 2021 as a result of enhanced cooperation between Indian and international agencies. While 27 criminals were repatriated to India last year, 18 were returned in 2021.
“It may be recalled that 2023 saw as many as 24 criminals and fugitives wanted by Indian law enforcement agencies being returned from abroad to India through close coordination via Interpol channels, one of the highest ever in a year. Further, India has also geolocated more than 184 criminals in various countries and initiated formal proceedings for their return. This reflects increased leveraging of Interpol channels and relationship with law enforcement agencies internationally to combat crime and criminals,” the CBI said in a statement.
Geolocating criminals by Indian agencies refers to finding their whereabouts using various means including technical data, phone locations, criminal activity and human intelligence.
Some of the fugitives repatriated from foreign countries in last three years include Subhash Shankar Parab (a close confidante of diamantaire Nirav Modi, who was deported from Cairo in April last year), Harpreet Singh alias Happy Malaysia (the alleged main conspirator behind the December 2021 Ludhiana court bomb blast; brought back from Kuala Lumpur) and Bikramjit Singh alias Bikkar Panjwar (a pro-Khalistan operative who was behind 2019 Tarn Taran bomb blast in Punjab and was brought back from Vienna in December 2022).
Interpol data shows that there are currently 277 people wanted by India against whom red notices – international arrest warrants – are pending
Interpol’s 91st general assembly was attended by a five-member team including Sood and Gupta in Vienna from November 28 till Friday.
As reported by HT on Thursday, Sood and Gupta are learnt to have raised the issue of Khalistani extremist activities from the foreign soil with countries including the US, the UK and Australia.
In all, the Indian delegation had bilateral meetings with 14 countries in cooperation on better sharing of criminal information via Interpol channels, to expedite mutual legal assistance and extradition requests.
“Indian delegation held discussions with law enforcement agencies from multiple countries for enhanced coordination via Interpol channels with a view for concerted action to combat organized crime, terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, online radicalisation, cyber enabled financial crimes and to prevent these crimes on a real-time basis,” the CBI statement said.
“India has stressed the need to deny any safe havens for crime, criminals and proceeds of crimes. The need for coordinated strategies to curtail criminal organisations which operate across international jurisdictions was deliberated,” the spokesperson added.
Indian officials also held discussions with senior officials of Interpol, Europol, Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Organisation and US Air Force Office of Special Investigations on strengthening arrangements for cooperation.
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