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CBI wins 9-year battle to extradite Punjab militant
June 20, 2006 16:10 IST
Kulvir Singh, a Khalistan Commando Force (Panjwar) militant extradited from the United States, was Tuesday sent to five-day police custody by a court in Phillaur, Punjab.
Wanted in 32 terror-related cases in Punjab, Singh was extradited from the US on Saturday after the Central Bureau of Investigation won a nine-year legal battle in the American courts.
Singh was presented before the Duty Magistrate V K Goel, who remanded him to police custody till June 25. He was produced in the court in a case regarding murder of three sons and two daughters-in-law of a police informer Sohan Singh at village Tarkhan Majara. Besides, Singh would be tried at Phillaur court for his alleged involvement in killing of former MLA Balwant Singh Sarhali on October 5, 1990 and the killing of Goraya Truck Union president Jasbir Singh in the same year, police said.
Singh had fled the country to the United States using false passport in the name of Mahim Mehra and was arrested by the US authorities in Los Angeles in April 1993, he said. The process of extraditing Singh to India was initiated in 1997 but he had strongly contested the move in American courts. But all his appeals were turned down because of prompt action from the Interpol's India office. Eventually, the US court passed orders granting India's request for his extradition, he said.
Meanwhile, the US-based Human Rights Watch has urged India to ensure that Kubhir Singh is not "tortured or mistreated."
"If (Singh) has committed crimes he should be prosecuted in a fair trial, but the Indian government must not allow its own forces to break the law to punish him," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. He claimed that Singh's "account of being tortured in the past makes it even more likely that Indian security forces will abuse him again." Singh had alleged that that Indian security forces in 1988 and 1989 tortured him to stop his political activism and to make him reveal the identities of other Sikh activists.
Human Rights Watch alleged that the greatest risk to Singh, "as with many criminal suspects in India," is during police remand, when suspects are detained at police stations for investigations with minimal oversight.
"Indian security forces have a long history of abusing criminal suspects and detainees by torturing them," claimed Adams. "They've used those methods against politically active Sikhs without facing any punishment."