London court accepts CBI evidence in Naval War Room leak case

The prospect of the extradition of Ravi Shankaran, a key accused in the Naval War Room leak case, from the United Kingdom has brightened, with the District Court in London accepting the evidence given by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday.

The court will hear the five-year-old case again on December 30. “The District Court … has accepted the evidence presented by the Indian authorities in connection with the extradition of an accused [Shankaran] in the Naval War Room leak case … investigated by the CBI,” a CBI spokesperson said in a statement here on Tuesday.

The order said there “is an admissible case” against the 46-year-old Shankaran, a retired naval commander and a relative of the former Navy Chief, Admiral Arun Prakash. Shankaran was accused of leaking classified information from the War Room to arms dealers. He has been absconding since the case was registered by the CBI in March 2006. The agency revoked his passport in May that year and secured a Red Corner Notice against him after filing a charge sheet in July.

An extradition request was sent to the United Kingdom in 2007 following reports that he was in that country. He was arrested by the U.K. authorities in April 2010 on the basis of the non-bailable arrest warrants issued by the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi.

The CBI spokesperson said the order of the Westminster Magistrates' Court was the result of close coordination between the Crown Prosecution Services, the High Commission of India and the CBI. “The attempts of the accused to cause doubts … were successfully refuted. The CBI team as well as [the] forensic expert successfully clarified doubts raised by the defence about the electronic evidence during their deposition before the extradition court in the U.K.”

The CBI had despatched a two-member team to London to assist the British law officers in the extradition trial. It also gave a 50-page reply to objections raised by the defence to emails submitted as evidence.

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