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UK judge handling Mallya case rejects another extradition to India, raps CBI

The persons sought were former Bank of India official Jatinder Kumar Angurala and his wife Asha Rani Angurala, for alleged fraud of about £24,000 between 1990 and 1993.

world Updated: Nov 02, 2017 22:31 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot,CBI extradition case,India-UK extradition treaty
Emma Arbuthnot, chief magistrate in the Westminster magistrates court, is hearing the case of Vijay Mallya (in pic).(Reuters)

The British judge dealing with India’s request to extradite controversial businessman Vijay Mallya has rejected the extradition of another individual and his wife wantedfor bank fraud,and rapped the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its handling of the case.

The persons sought were Jatinder Kumar Angurala and his wife Asha Rani Angurala, for alleged fraud of about £24,000 between 1990 and 1993. At the time, Angurala was manager of a branch of the Bank of India in Jalandhar. Their extradition proceedings beganin April 2015.

Emma Arbuthnot, chief magistrate in the Westminster magistrates court, who is also hearingMallya’s case, turned down the extradition request “by reason of passage of time” on October 12 and expressed surprise at the CBI’s actions in the case, according to the detailed judgement available now.

As manager of the bank'sMalri branch in Nakodar, Jalandhar, Angurala was accused of cheating the bank with his wife and others, fraudulently sanctioning and paying out loans to himself, his wife and co-conspirators between October 1990 and April 1993.

Angurala later admitted the irregularities and promised to repay the bank. He deposited money in several accounts but did not repay the full amount. He was suspended in April 1993 and travelled to Britain in August the same year. He later took British citizenship.

The judgement called Angurala“a man of good character” and noted that he sent British postal orders to the bank in Jalandhar to repay some staff loans. It recalled that an Indian judge had noted in 2001 that even when hispostalorders were received, the bank or the CBI made no effort to nab him.

“During the two or three years leading up to 2001, the trial of the co-defendants is taking place (in India). They are blaming Mr Angurala in particular for the fraud and the focus inevitably must have been on his whereabouts. The CBI must have been all too aware at that point, that he was not before the court as the others were.”

Noting that the Indian judge had criticised the CBI and the bank for not trying to nab Angurala even after he sent the postal orders, Arbuthnot said: “I do not accept the CBI would not have known about this criticism, in 2001 it was in possession of the RP’s (requested person’s)address and this was the time that this court would have expected them to obtain warrants of arrest from the CBI court which would have led to a request.

“In my view there was no valid reason for this not being done until 2014. Although the CBI received more information on the RPs addresses…in my view it had sufficient information before then for an attempt to be made to arrest the RPs in London.”

The judge noted that Angurala had used his name throughout, sent his London addresses to the bank, and the CBI knew the bank had his addresses.

“(After) the nudge from the Indian judge it is really surprising that they did not follow this up...In this case, the CBI, if they had asked the Bank of Indiafor the RP’s address, they would have been able to instigate a search in this country, they should have started with a search in London, which would have led to the identification and detention of Mr Angurala.

“I find I am not sure he is a fugitive and his extradition is barred by reason of passage of time as I find it would be unjust and oppressive tohim by reason of the quarter century that has passed since the alleged offence,” Arbuthnot added.

The next “case management hearing” in Mallya’s extradition case before Arbuthnot is on November 20, with the full extradition trial set to begin on December 4. The Indian side is said to have taken more care in terms of paperwork in Mallya’s case, since most previous extradition cases did not succeed due to patchy preparation and the quality of documents.

There are currently seven Indian extradition requests pending with Britain: Rajesh Kapoor, Tiger Hanif, Atul Singh, Raj Kumar Patel, Sanjeev Kumar Chawla, Shaik Sadiq, and Mallya.

There has been only one successful extradition to India since a treaty was signed between India and Britain in 1992: Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, wanted in a case related to the 2002 Gujarat riots who was extradited in October 2016.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 22:31 IST