Bharati Yadav still long way off
HER INDIAN passport may have been revoked, but it is still a long way before the Indian authorities can make Bharati Yadav depose in court in the Nitish Katara murder case.india Updated: Mar 28, 2006 01:27 IST
HER INDIAN passport may have been revoked, but it is still a long way before the Indian authorities can make Bharati Yadav depose in court in the Nitish Katara murder case.
Bharati -- the key witness in the case who flew down to London shortly after the murder in 2002 -- is untraceable. Though her passport was cancelled on March 6 because of her non-appearance in the case, nobody seems to know where she is. The authorities here too are not in a hurry to find out as she is not an accused in a crime (and possibly because India has not yet made a request for her extradition).
In fact, there are many conjectures about her whereabouts, including the possibility of her having left Britain. She could have gone to any other country despite the cancellation of her passport as, according to information available so far, the British authorities, including Immigration Control, have not been informed about the revocation.
And even if Bharati is in Britain, it is unlikely that the British authorities will cooperate with their Indian counterparts in tracing her out and make her sit on a flight home. Legal experts say the authorities were not obliged to trace her or put any restriction on her movements as she is not accused of any offence.
The Hindustan Times learnt that Scotland Yard was not willing to cooperate because of this.There are other possibilities too, which could nullify the cancellation of her passport and make it difficult to get Bharati back to India. If she was able to get another nationality, the cancellation of her Indian passport is immaterial. The other possibility is that she might have married someone with a British passport, say legal experts.
After six months of the marriage, she could have applied for British passport. It cannot be refused as there is no criminal charge against her. But in case she is stateless after the passport revocation, it would be impossible for her to leave Britain except for India. It would also mean invalidation of her visa, but if the immigration does not know about the cancellation then she can continue to live here until its validity.
Once the visa expires, Bharati could — one view was — seek asylum citing possible torture in India if she was sent back. Or she might, what they call here, simply melt away in the population — as several have done in the past.