A British court today posted the much-awaited extradition hearing of Ravi Shankaran, a key accused in the infamous Naval War Room leak case, to September one after giving prosecution three weeks time to make a case against him.
Judge Nicholas Evans of Westminster Magistrate Court heard special public prosecutor John Hardy QC arguing on behalf of India for extradition of 46-year-old Shankaran and later asked him to make out proper allegation against the accused and handover the same to the defendants by July 19.
After the preliminary hearing from the prosecuting lawyer for over three and half hours, the judge asked the defending lawyer to keep ready his reply after which the court will hear the extradition plea on September one, this year. "If I am satisfied prima facie, we will move on at the next day of hearing on September 1," Judge Evans said.
The Special Public Prosecutor, while reading India's extradition plea, cited the alleged involvement of Shankaran, a close kin of former Naval Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, in leaking sensitive information about Sir Creek in Gujarat.
Shankaran, against whom an Interpol Red Corner Notice was issued at the request of the CBI in 2006, was arrested in London April this year after evading the law for four years.
Shankaran's solicitor Prosecutor told newsmen outside the court that his client will use this opportunity to correct number of matters which have been reported totally incorrect.
"For the record, my client voluntarily attended at a police station by prior appointment in the knowledge that he would be charged. He is presently on bail without restrictions on his movement. He is not being guarded by armed police," Brandman said.
Shankaran was declared a proclaimed offender by a Delhi court four years ago and his passport was revoked on May one, 2006. The CBI, which has gone unrepresented in two hearings, had sought assistance of the Crown Prosecution Services to represent the case in the court for his extradition. 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 Commander (retired) S K Kohli, Kashyap Kumar and Kulbushan Parashar.
The case against these nine persons was registered under various sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Barring Jaiswal, Bajaj and Kashyap Kumar, chargesheets have been filed against all the others. The CBI has prepared documents for closing the case against the trio as nothing could be found against them. PTI