Most Indian Fugitives Flee to US, UK, UAE and Canada

Out of 121 people India wants extradited, 83 live in the US, UAE, Canada and UK.


Of the 121 fugitives India wants extradited, 70 per cent have taken shelter in four countries, according to data from the Ministry of External Affairs obtained through a Right to Information query. The preferred destinations for fugitive Indians have been identified as the United States, United Arab Emirates, Canada and the United Kingdom.

These countries, which have been sent a list of 83 individuals, are known to have some of the toughest procedures of extradition, making it easier for fugitives.

The 121 people live in 24 countries across the world. India has an extradition agreement with 18 of the 24 countries. Some of the more famous names in this list are Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Sanjeev Chawla, David Coleman Headley, Nadeem Saifi, and Tiger Hanif.

While Mallya is wanted for unpaid debts of his Kingfisher Airlines running into thousands of crores, Chawla is accused for spot-fixing a cricket match in 2000. Music director Nadeem Saifi is an accused in the murder case of Gulshan Kumar, the founder of recording company T-Series. Modi has a money laundering case pending against him. Headley — who is serving a 35-year jail time in America — is wanted for links to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008, while Hanif’s extradition is being sought for the 1993 Gujarat blasts.

“Go back in time to the Khalistanis, go back to the early movement of the Kashmiris, and go back to the Nagaland. The leadership has always been provided a safe haven in these countries,” counter-terrorism expert Ajai Sahni was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.

The long-standing extradition requests have not been processed yet due to numerous reasons, such as difference in legal principles and procedure, difficult extradition procedures, and instances where the authorities have allegedly sabotaged the investigation to save fugitives. Other reasons such as inhuman treatment of inmates in Indian jails, over-crowded prisons and torture of prisoners have also been cited by the host country. These reasons were recently cited during Chawla’s case, due to which India’s extradition request for him was rejected by the British court.

After a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, the Ministry of Home Affairs declared on Nov. 13 that India is “prison-ready” for Mallya. The government gave its nod to Indian agencies to guarantee courts in the UK that all measures will be taken so that there are no human rights violations. Mallya will reportedly be kept at Mumbai’s Arthur Road Prison.

“These countries want India to ensure fair trial, no torture during interrogation, humane prison conditions, and no death sentence,” Senior human rights lawyer Colin Gonsalves told HT. “But India has failed to ensure all four points. It’s entirely because Indian police and investigating agencies have a bad reputation worldwide. Instead of improving the system, you blame others.”

Ashok Chand, Former Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) in New Delhi, blamed the legal procedure of the other countries, the publication reported. “Lack of proper appreciation of facts or misplaced sympathy for fugitives by these countries are the main reason why the request to extradite them have remained pending till date,” he said.

Recently, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh urged the central government for extradition of 10 Canadian Indians who were wanted in the state for drug-related offences. Singh said that the cases were pending for three to four years.

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