July 20, 2014 12:52:25 pm
With the case of extradition of an alleged paedophile coming up in a UK court on Monday, CBI has sought the help of MEA to take up the matter at the highest level with the British government for issuing instructions to its legal services to present a strong case.
CBI Director Ranjit Sinha made this request to Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh after the agency failed to get an interaction with the service counsel of Crown Prosecution Service in connection with the extradition of Raymond Andrew Varley, who allegedly molested hundreds of orphan children in Goa in 1995 at a shelter home run by foreigners.
The extradition has been rejected by Westminster court and appeal has been filed at the High Court of England and Wales which will be heard tomorrow when CBI will file a crucial statement on the need for an independent medical opinion on the mental health of the accused.
CBI, not directly a party in the case, is dependent on the Crown Prosecution Service in the case. The agency provides all the help to CPS to secure extradition of the accused.
The agency sent repeated request seeking interaction with the service counsel through video conference before the crucial hearing so that best possible case could be presented during the appeal but it failed in its effort.
“Michael Omo, Specialist Extradition Prosecutor, Crown Prosecution Service, initially agreed to video-conferencing. But when CBI gave him various dates he has not agreed for a video conference,” an official source said.
Varley’s extradition was cleared by the UK government but he approached Westminster court against the decision. His extradition was turned down by the court on a solitary ground that the accused was suffering from dementia.
The agency sources said Varley produced opinion from a private doctor to claim that he was suffering from dementia but the CPS did not challenge the move or sought for an independent medical opinion on the his mental health.
After convincing the CPS to file an appeal before the High Court, CBI wrote to it seeking an interaction with their Service Counsel via video-conferencing vide letters dated June 20, 2014, June 27, 2014 and many others, the sources said.
With possibility of interaction looking bleak, CBI has now requested the Foreign Secretary to take up the matter at the highest level of the UK Government for issuing necessary instructions to the CPS to put forward the best possible case before the High Court, they said.
The sources said it is incumbent on the CPS to maintain close co-operation with CBI/HCIL in terms of United Kingdom Extradition Treaty, 1983.
Although the Westminster court rejected the case on the grounds of “failing mental health of the accused”, it did acknowledge that a prima facie case was made out against him, CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said here.
“The court said there are no doubts regarding the identity of the accused as contested or disputed by him. It rejected the contention of the accused that the extradition was time barred. It rejected the plea of the accused that prison conditions in Goa were poor,” she said.
CBI had taken up this case in 1995 on the orders of High Court of Bombay. The agency filed charge sheets against Freedy Albert Peat of Goa and six foreign nationals and also issued non-Bailable Warrants and Red Corner Notices against the absconding foreign nationals.
“Two accused EC McBride from New Zealand and WW Ingo from Australia were extradited and convicted during trial. On completion of their sentence, they were repatriated to their respective countries,” CBI said in a statement.
Varley, who remained absconding for nearly 17 years, was arrested from Bangkok and deported to the UK in 2012.
On getting the news, CBI sent a request for extradition to UK in April, 2012 and since then, the matter has been regularly pursued, the agency said.
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