Ravi Shankaran, a retired Indian naval officer who fled to Britain to escape trial in India on charges of leaking classified defence information, has lost his appeal against extradition.
A British court on Wednesday ruled that his team had presented no new evidence to prove that he had no “prima facie case to answer.” On the other hand, “a case to answer has been made out” against him.
‘No merit in claim’
District Judge Nicholas Evans, delivering his verdict at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, dismissed Shankaran’s claim that the Central Bureau of Investigation had gone “out of the way to cover up false and fabricated evidence.”
He ruled that the claim had no “merit whatsoever.” “The court is concerned with English rules of law and evidence that may be inadmissible in India is not a relevant consideration... no new evidence has been presented that deals a knock-out blow to the prima facie case to answer,” he said.
Earlier, the Crown Prosecution Service argued that there was substantial evidence to extradite him.
Home Secretary Theresa May will take a final decision on issuing an extradition order for which she has two months.
Shankaran’s legal team plans to appeal. He was granted conditional bail requiring him to make a deposit of £20,000 and live at a fixed address provided to the court. He cannot leave the country without the court’s permission.
Shankaran (46), a former naval commander, is a key accused in what is known as the “naval war room leak case.” It is alleged that he was involved in leaking more than 7,000 pages of classified information from naval war room and air defence headquarters to arms traders in 2006. He fled India after the CBI registered a case against him in March 2006. Later his passport was revoked and a Red Alert warrant for his arrest was issued.
The Indian authorities sought his extradition in 2007 after it emerged that he was staying in Britain. But it took another three years before he was arrested — in April 2010 — on the basis of a non-bailable warrant issued by a Delhi court.