Suc­cess of sorts

FrontLine - - ECONOMIC OFFENCE - BY V. VENKATESAN

As In­dia se­cures the ex­tra­di­tion of Chris­tian Michel, the al­leged mid­dle­man in the Agus­tawest­land chop­per deal, its ef­forts to bring back other fugi­tives from abroad come un­der scru­tiny.

IN­DIA reg­is­tered twin suc­cesses on the ques­tion of ex­tra­di­tion of fugi­tives from other coun­tries re­cently. While it se­cured the ex­tra­di­tion of Chris­tian Michel, a Bri­tish na­tional and the al­leged mid­dle­man in the Agus­tawest­land chop­per deal, from the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE), a U.K. court, after year-long pro­ceed­ings, found Vi­jay Mallya ex­tra­ditable to In­dia. Both the suc­cesses are, how­ever, rid­dled with uncer­tain­ties. While it is not at all cer­tain whether In­dia has ad­e­quate proof to jus­tify Michel’s ex­tra­di­tion and con­tin­ued de­ten­tion in In­dia, Mallya is sure to avail him­self of le­gal reme­dies to ap­peal against the U.K. lower court’s or­der of ex­tra­di­tion in or­der to de­lay his de­por­ta­tion to In­dia.

The logic of ex­tra­di­tion of an al­leged crim­i­nal from one coun­try to an­other is sim­ple: the trial for a crime, if held in the vicin­ity of the crime, en­ables easy col­lec­tion of ev­i­dence, and if it leads to suc­cess­ful con­vic­tion and sen­tenc­ing, it will send a strong mes­sage that a crime will not go un­pun­ished merely for ju­ris­dic­tional rea­sons.

The law of ex­tra­di­tion, how­ever, tran­scends its im­me­di­ate logic. It seeks to har­monise crime con­trol with the pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights of the fugi­tives, guar­an­tee­ing due process to the lat­ter. Thus, com­pli­ance with the pro­ce­dure es­tab­lished by law, be­fore the sur­ren­der of the fugi­tive from one coun­try to an­other, is an im­per­a­tive. This in­cludes a ju­di­cial in­quiry by a mag­is­trate, fol­lowed by a for­mal de­ci­sion by the gov­ern­ment.

In In­dia, the ex­tra­di­tion of a fugi­tive from In­dia to a for­eign coun­try or vice versa is gov­erned by the Ex­tra­di­tion Act, 1962. An ex­tra­di­tion treaty be­tween two coun­tries spec­i­fies the con­di­tions to be sat­is­fied for ex­tra­di­tion. A list of crimes that are ex­tra­ditable is also in­cluded in the treaty. In the ab­sence of a treaty, ex­tra­di­tion may be per­mit­ted if it has the back­ing of the prin­ci­ple of rec­i­proc­ity. A treaty is a mu­tu­ally agreed text signed and rat­i­fied by two sovereign gov­ern­ments. An ex­tra­di­tion ar­range­ment is made in the ab­sence of a treaty on the as­sur­ance of rec­i­proc­ity, in­clud­ing those un­der in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­ply to a query of a mem­ber, fur­nished by the Min­is­ter of State for Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs, V.K. Singh, in the Ra­jya Sabha on March 22, In­dia has ex­tra­di­tion treaties with 48 coun­tries. These in­clude the United States, the UAE, Hong Kong (China), Bel­gium, Bul­garia, France, Ger­many, Lithua­nia, the Nether­lands, Poland, Por­tu­gal, Spain, Switzer­land and the United King­dom. In­dia has ex­tra­di­tion ar­range­ments with 10 coun­tries, in­clud­ing three Euro­pean coun­tries, namely, Croa­tia, Italy and Swe­den. Since 2014, four fugi­tives have been ex­tra­dited to In­dia. In the last 15 years, as per a re­ply fur­nished in the Lok Sabha on Au­gust 9, 2017, by V.K. Singh, 47 fugi­tive crim­i­nals have been ex­tra­dited/de­ported from In­dia to the coun­tries con­cerned, whereas 62 fugi­tive crim­i­nals have been ex­tra­dited/de­ported to In­dia from var­i­ous coun­tries.

Sec­tion 105 of the Code of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure speaks of re­cip­ro­cal ar­range­ments to be made by the Cen­tral gov­ern­ment with for­eign gov­ern­ments with re­gard to the ser­vice of sum­mons/war­rants/ju­di­cial pro­cesses. Ac­cord­ingly, the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs has en­tered into mu­tual le­gal as­sis­tance treaties (Mlats)/agree­ments on crim­i­nal mat­ters with 39 coun­tries, which pro­vide for serv­ing of doc­u­ments. In other cases, the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs makes a re­quest on the ba­sis of an as­sur­ance of rec­i­proc­ity to the for­eign gov­ern­ment con­cerned through the Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs or the In­dian mis­sion/em­bassy in that coun­try.

A coun­try hav­ing an MLAT with In­dia has an obli­ga­tion to con­sider serv­ing the doc­u­ments, whereas the coun­tries that do not have an MLAT

VI­JAY MALLYA and his King­fisher Air­lines and United Brew­eries Hold­ings were tagged as wil­ful de­fault­ers in 2014.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.