A British court on Wednesday rejected an appeal filed by Ravi Shankaran, a key accused in the Naval War Room leak case against his extradition to India. He is a relative of former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash.
Ravi was earlier given an assurance by the CBI that his bail will not be opposed once he is brought back to face trial.
Happy with the order of the Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Wednesday, CBI said on Thursday that the court there had been given an assurance that Shankaran’s bail plea would not be opposed in a court of law in India.
The 48-year-old Shankaran had listed denial of bail in India among the reasons for opposing his extradition to this country, CBI sources said.
However, after the court was given assurance, District Judge Nicholas Evans ruled on Wednesday that ‘a case to answer has been made out’ against the accused and that the UK Home Secretary Theresa May may make the final decision on issuing an extradition order.
The CBI said plans were afoot to send a team to UK to bring him back once all legal formalities of that country were completed as Shankaran, against whom an Interpol Red Corner notice had also been issued, may be opposing the decision of the British Home Secretary in the court.
Judge Evans had clarified in the order that an appeal can now only be made on the decision of the Secretary of State, who has two months from the date of the court ruling to issue her order. Justifying its stand not to oppose the bail plea of Shankaran, the CBI said he had been chargesheeted and all he required was to face the trial.
The retired Naval commander, who was arrested in London in May 2010, has been given conditional bail, which includes the requirement to live at a new UK address provided by him, a deposit of 20,000 pounds and no right to foreign travel.
Shankaran is one of the key accused in the case of leaking classified information from the War Room to arms dealers. He has been absconding since the case was registered by CBI in March 2006.
His passport was revoked on May 1, 2006 and an Interpol Red Corner Notice was secured against him in July the same year.
An Interpol Red Notice is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant.
Shankaran was first located in UK in 2007 and an extradition request was sent. However, he reportedly fled from London to other parts of Europe before he became unlucky in 2010 when he was arrested by Scotland Yard.
The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had argued the CBI’s case that there was substantial evidence to extradite the accused for a trial in India.
Delivering his verdict on Wednesday, Judge Evans dismissed Shankaran’s claims that CBI had gone ‘out of the way to cover up false and fabricated evidence’ as having no ‘merit whatsoever’.
The judge also said extradition hearings are bound by good faith between sovereign States and he is confident that if the prosecution in India no longer felt there was ‘credible and admissible’ evidence against the accused, then it was their duty to end the proceedings and withdraw the extradition request.
(With inputs from agencies)