Even as the United Kingdom's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) handed over an alleged drug smuggler to India for extradition, a new book highlighting some high-profile as well as lesser-known Indian extradition cases delves into why the UK is considered a safe haven for those wanting to escape the law in India.
'Escaped: True Stories of Indian Fugitives in London', released worldwide yesterday, tracks 12 cases involving alleged offenders wanted in India to stand trial for offences ranging from loan defaults to murder.
The book, authored by London-based journalists and researchers Danish and Ruhi Khan, includes a recap of the more recent cases involving former Kingfisher Airlines boss Vijay Mallya and diamond merchant Nirav Modi, wanted in India on fraud and money laundering charges, as well as some historic ones including those of former Indian Naval officer Ravi Shankaran and musician Nadeem Saifi.
As journalists covering the recent court cases in London, the couple said they drew on their own observations and reporting and also dug into British archives, old newspaper records and parliamentary reports to review cases dating back to the 1950s that have had a significant impact on the India-UK extradition policy.
"The more we looked into the details we realised that the subject of extradition was not just unexplored but absolutely fascinating. Each case we write about in this book throws a spotlight on not just the fugitive but also the deeper and darker underbelly of India, the evolving relationship between India and the UK and the many arguments in the courtrooms that centre around extradition and human rights," said Ruhi Khan.
Among some of the past extradition cases is that of a key lieutenant of Dawood Ibrahim, Iqbal Mirchi, who set up a base in London at a time when the Middle East was the most popular destination for underworld dons and it proved a good choice as he was successful in his fight against being extradited to India.
The book also chronicles the saga of cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla, now dispatched to India, and that of music director Nadeem Saifi, charged with the murder of music baron Gulshan Kumar. Saifi had fled to the UK in 2001 but the London High Court rejected the Indian government's request for his extradition on the ground that there was no prima facie case against him.
It also chronicles how terror accused Hanif Patel evaded extradition and investigates the loopholes that saved convicted pedophile Raymond Varley and NRI parents Arti Dhir and Kaval Kaval Raijada, accused of murdering their adopted child.
The book takes a trip through history as it recounts how a newly independent India managed to bring back two powerful industrialists, Dharma Jayanti Teja and Mubarak Ali Ahmed, who were involved in financial crimes.
In related news, Kishan Singh, accused of operating an international drugs cartel, has been extradited to India to face charges of supplying illegal drugs, a move Britain's CPS said yesterday signifies the "high level of cooperation" between the two countries.
The 38-year-old British citizen of Rajasthani origin was handed over by the Metropolitan Police Extradition Unit to officials from India. Singh is accused of supplying recreational drugs such as mephedrone, also known as White Magic and Meow Meow, and ketamine in India in 2016-17 and was arrested on an extradition warrant in London in August 2018.
Following over two years of legal processes, Singh’s case marks the second successful extradition from the UK to India in recent times.