NRI fugitive gets bail as US fails to respond in drugs case
The accused, Kuldeep Singh Sekhon, was granted relief till the time “any response/ clarification” is received from the US authorities.india Updated: Jan 25, 2018 19:33 IST
An NRI fugitive, wanted in the USA to face trial in a drugs case, has been granted bail by a special extradition court in New Delhi as the US authorities failed to respond to Indian requests seeking clarification over the quantity of contraband seized from him.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur, who presides over the sole Special Extradition Court of India, granted the relief to Sekhon till the time “any response/ clarification” is received from the US authorities, noting that repeated reminders to them had not borne fruit.
Terming “liberty and freedom” of an individual as “the most fundamental and sacrosanct right” under the Constitution, the special court said that “despite repeated reminders by India”, the US authorities, which have sought extradition of 49-year old Kuldeep Singh Sekhon, did not respond to the queries regarding the quantity of banned substance ‘Pseudoephedrine’ recovered from him.
Pseudoephedrine, which is medically used as a nasal decongestant, is a banned substance used as stimulant by addicts.
Kaur had sought the US response on record in the wake of confusion as the prosecution documents filed in a US court had said that the seized contraband was 311 grams, while the affidavit submitted along with extradition request had claimed that the seized drugs weighed 3.1 kgs.
Sekhon was arrested from Mohali in Punjab on April 28, 2016 for carrying the banned substance and has been facing extradition proceedings, initiated by the Indian ministry of external affairs at the request of the USA with whom India has an extradition treaty.
“Reply on these documents is essential to bring out the true facts of the case. However, till date no response has been received on behalf of the USA by the Union of India despite repeated reminders being sent regularly on behalf of Union of India,” the court said.
Sekhon, in his bail plea filed through advocate Kinnori Ghosh, has told the court that his fundamental right to liberty was being infringed upon due to no response from the US authorities.
“The clarification with respect to the controlled substance and its quantity recovered from the FC (fugitive criminal) is very essential in the present enquiry to make an informed decision and to bring out the true facts of the case.
“No reply or any response has been received on behalf of the requesting state for the last four months despite the fact that the Union of India has been sending repeated requests and reminders seeking clarifications,” the court said while taking note of the plea of the NRI fugitive.
The judge granted conditional bail to Sekhon and asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs five lakh with one surety of the like amount, saying “I hereby deem it fit to admit FC on bail till the time any response/clarification is received by Union of India from the USA.”
The court also directed the accused to appear before it on every second and fourth Monday and barred him from leaving the National Capital Region without its prior nod.