No extradition treaty with Argentina, clarifies Indian government
Feb 26, 2007 - 11:20:42 PM
New Delhi, Feb 26 - Facing criticism over delay in extraditing Bofors payoff scam accused Ottavio Qauttrocchi, the government Monday replied to the opposition's charge and clarified that India currently does not have an extradition treaty with Argentina.
'India does not have any currently operative extradition treaty with Argentina,' external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said.
He was responding to a question on the charge by Baharatiya Janata Party - leaders L.K. Advani and Jaswant Singh that the government was misleading people by saying that there was no extradition treaty between India and Argentina.
They pointed out that 'an extradition treaty was signed by the British government - with Argentina' which is still operative.
The ministry conceded that 'an extradition treaty of 1889 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Argentine Republic was applicable to British India', but clarified that since the treaty was not notified after India enacted The Extradition Act, 1962, it was not currently operative.
'However, post Indian independence and following the enactment of The Extradition Act, 1962, by the Indian parliament, the Treaty of 1889 is not operative since it was not notified in accordance with Section 3, clause - of the act, after having obtained the consent of the government of the Argentine Republic,' Sarna said.
'The government avers that there is no extradition treaty with Argentina. Not correct. There is an extradition treaty,' Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh, also a former external affairs minister, told a press conference Monday.
Both Advani and Jaswant Singh demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh why such sensitive information about Quattrocchi's detention was kept under wraps for over a fortnight.
They also dismissed the government's explanation that it was trying to verify the facts about the arrest of Quattrocchi at the Iguaz˙ Falls on the Argentina-Brazil border Feb 6, and getting the necessary documents translated into Spanish.
Quattrocchi is accused of receiving $7 million in bribes as a middleman in the $1.2 billion purchase of artillery from Swedish arms maker Bofors AB.
'Agencies of the government have put out that they were 'pre-occupied with translations' for all of 17 days -. Incorrect. All communications from our missions are always in English. This is a dishonest plea. Besides, if there was any direct Interpol message to the CBI in Spanish, it would need no more than an hour to translate,' the BJP leaders said in their statement.
Quattrocchi, meanwhile, was released on bail but was prohibited from leaving Argentina, according to a message Central Bureau of Investigation - received from Interpol Monday evening.
A two-member CBI team was leaving for Argentina with extradition documents so as to reach there in the forenoon of March 2 to pursue the matter in the Argentine court, the CBI said in a statement.
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