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Britain seeks formal extradition request for Ravi Shankaran
Sumir Kaul in New Delhi | May 09, 2007 19:22 IST
The noose around Ravi Shankaran, the kin of former naval chief Admiral Arun Prakash and a key accused in the war room leak case, appears to have tightened further with the British government seeking a formal extradition request from India pending his arrest.
The move came within days of a British court issuing an arrest warrant against Shankaran, who has been declared a proclaimed offender.
According to highly placed sources in the CBI, the British Home Department routed a request to the agency through the External Affairs Ministry that India should formally seek the extradition of Shankaran, against whom Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice.
The request for a formal extradition plea could mean that Shankaran has been traced in Britain and his arrest is imminent, the sources said.
Following this communication, the CBI has begun preparing a draft extradition request to be finalised by the Home Ministry and the legal and treaties division of the External Affairs Ministry.
The CBI is preparing the request on the basis of the Red Corner Notice issued by Interpol and reported admissions by other accused in the case about Shankaran's alleged involvement in the matter.
An Additional District Judge of Britain issued an arrest warrant against Shankaran in April following a request by the CBI to the British home department.
The warrant was issued after evidence of Shankaran's presence in Britain was submitted to the British home department through the External Affairs Ministry.
India's request for the provisional arrest of 43-year-old Shankaran, believed to be currently living in Britain, was made under the Article 12 of the extradition treaty between the two countries.
The CBI had, on September 12 last year, attached Shankaran's property and bank accounts after he failed to appear before the agency for questioning.
This included his office -- Shanks Oceangraphic Pvt Ltd in Goa -- and accounts with HSBC Bank of a firm called Besix India, which belonged to him.
Shankaran is a key accused in the case related to the leak of sensitive information from the navy's war room or directorate of operations.
His passport was revoked by the government on May 1 last year.
The CBI conducted raids at his residence and other offices last April after arresting former naval Commander Kulbushan Prasharar at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport on his arrival from London.
A proclaimation notice asking Shankaran to appear before the CBI for questioning was published in The Times London on August 11 last year.
The CBI had registered a case on March 20, 2006 against former IAF Wing Commander Sambhaji Rao Surve, Shankaran, ex-naval Commanders Vinod Kumar Jha and Vinod Rana, Raj Rani Jaiswal, Mukesh Bajaj, Wing Cdr (retired) S K Kohli, Kashyap Kumar and Parashar.
The case against all nine persons was registered under various sections of the Official Secrets Act and Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The CBI has so far filed three chargesheets in this case and Shankaran was named in the first one.