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Punjab-origin NRI fugitive gets bail as US fails to respond in drugs case

The NRI is facing extradition trial in India for being wanted by the US authorities for manufacturing pseudoephedrine (controlled drug).

punjab Updated: Jan 25, 2018 20:02 IST
Press Trust of India, New delhi
NRI,extradition,Gurmohina Kaur
(Representative Image)

An NRI fugitive, wanted in the USA to face trial in a drugs case, has been granted bail by a special extradition court here 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 Kuldeep Singh Sekhon, 49, till the time “any response/clarification” is received from the US authorities, noting that repeated reminders to them had not borne fruit.

Sekhon, who is originally from Punjab, is facing extradition trial in India for being wanted by the US authorities for manufacturing pseudoephedrine (controlled drug). He also alleged that he had left the US as he was subjected to racial discrimination during the jury trial.

Terming “liberty and freedom” of an individual as “the most fundamental and sacrosanct right” under the Constitution, the special court said “despite repeated reminders by India”, the US authorities, which have sought extradition of Sekhon, did not respond to the queries regarding the quantity of banned substance ‘Pseudoephedrine’ recovered from him.

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 kg.

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 Union 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, no response has been received on behalf of the USA to date by the Union of India despite repeated reminders being sent regularly,” 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 judge granted conditional bail to Sekhon and asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh with one surety of the like amount.

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.

First Published: Jan 25, 2018 19:08 IST