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Home > News > PTI

MEA declined request for Shankaran's arrest by UK

Samir Kaul in New Delhi | December 06, 2006 00:03 IST

In a surprise move, the external affairs ministry turned down the CBI's request to ask British authorities to arrest Ravi Shankaran, a kin of former navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash and main accused in the war room leak case, saying the move would be "premature".

In response to the stand taken by the ministry, the CBI made another request to it in October to seek Shankaran's provisional arrest by authorities in Britain, the agency said in a status report submitted recently to the Delhi High Court.

The external affairs ministry's decision came despite the fact that Interpol had on May 12 2006, issued a Red Corner Notice against Shankaran, who is believed to be in London.

In its status report on the navy war room leak case, the CBI said, "A letter had been written to the ministry of external affairs on May 18, 2006 for requesting the UK authorities, where Ravi Shankaran is believed to be residing presently, for his provisional arrest as per the provisions of Article 12 of the extradition treaty between India and Britain.

"But the ministry of external affairs vide its letter dated May 31, 2006 had intimated that since the case was still under investigation stage, it would be premature to process the case for extradition or making a request for provisional arrest for the purpose of extradition," the report said.

The CBI informed the court that a fresh request seeking Shankaran's provisional arrest by British authorities had been made to the external affairs ministry on October 27 2006.

The Interpol declared 41-year-old Shankaran a wanted man after the CBI approached the world police body on May 1 and requested it to issue a Red Corner Notice against him on a urgent basis.

A designated court in New Delhi had earlier issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Shankaran. In its proposal sent to the ministry, the CBI also mentioned, "If apprehended, the government of India undertakes to present a formal extradition request for Ravi Shankaran to the government of the UK and Northern Ireland not later than two months from such date of apprehension..."

The matter is currently pending with the legal and treaties section of external affairs ministry, the CBI said in its report.

The CBI on September 12, had attached Shankaran's property and bank accounts after he failed to appear before the agency for questioning. The CBI had registered a case on March 20 against former IAF wing commander Sambhaji Rao Surve, Shankaran, former Navy commanders Vinod Kumar Jha and Vinod Rana, Raj Rani Jaiswal, who allegedly acted as a honey trap for defence personnel; Mukesh Bajaj, retired wing commander S K Kohli and former naval commander Kulbushan Parashar in connection with the war room leak case.

While Surve, Jha, Rana, Parashar, Jaiswal and Bajaj were arrested, Kohli and Parashar joined the investigation and are cooperating with CBI. The cases against all nine persons were registered under various sections of the Official Secrets Act and section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

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