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Fingers crossed on Davy extradition: Salman Khurshid

Posted on Nov 08, 06:59PM | IBNS

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday said Denmark is examining afresh the techno-legal aspects of India's extradition appeal for Purulia arms drop case kingpin Niels Christian Nielsen alias Kim Peter Davy.

Addressing media on his return to India from the 9th ASEM Summit in Laos, Khurshid said: "As far as Denmark is concerned, our effort was to explain to the honourable Prime Minister the concerns both of the Indian people and Indian Government, and the seriousness of the issue because it relates to India's security.

"And I am pleased report the President was very receptive to the information that I gave, and also said that techno-legal examination afresh is called for and will be done by them. I think that is a positive indication. Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best."

Asked on reopening of Davy's extradition plea, Khurshid said: "I think the expression used by the other side is an expression that I will continue to use that they would examine afresh the techno-legal aspects of the matter.

"As far as we are concerned, the information that we had we have given, in the light of that I got that response. So, let us wait for further movement on that."

The Purulia arms drop case dates back to the night of Dec 17, 1995 when arms were dropped from an Antonov An-26 aircraft in Purulia district of West Bengal.

The Latvian crew of the aircraft and Peter Bleach, the pilot and a British citizen, were arrested and sentenced in India.

But Davy, a Danish citizen, escaped.

Later, an Interpol red notice was issued against him.

While the Latvian crew members were released in 2000, Peter Bleach was released on 4 Feb, 2004, after a presidential pardon under British pressure.

In 2007 Kim Davy was traced by Denmark authorities.

Excerpts from Khurshid's press conference on Thursday:

Question: Sir, there is also a leadership change which is happening in China. What are India's hopes and expectations of the new Chinese leadership?

External Affairs Minister: As you know, China has a very orderly and a very scientific system by which they have generational change, and this is a significant generational change taking place in China. We watch it closely. Of course as a friendly neighbour we look forward to a more meaningful and sustainable relationship with China under the new leadership. We wish them well, and we hope that the positive steps that we have taken together in the last few years will be taken further by the new leadership.

Question: Sir, you also had significant meetings with the Prime Ministers of Italy and of Denmark. With Denmark did you press for the extradition of Kim Peter Davy afresh?

External Affairs Minister: As far as Denmark is concerned, our effort was to explain to the honourable Prime Minister the concerns both of the Indian people and Indian Government, and the seriousness of the issue because it relates to India's security. And I am pleased report the President was very receptive to the information that I gave, and also said that techno-legal examination afresh is called for and will be done by them. I think that is a positive indication. Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Question: Sir, do we take it that the case is being reopened for extradition of Kim Peter Davy?

External Affairs Minister: I think the expression used by the other side is an expression that I will continue to use that they would examine afresh the techno-legal aspects of the matter. As far as we are concerned, the information that we had we have given, in the light of that I got that response. So, let us wait for further movement on that.

Question: Sir, was the issue of the Italian Marines raised with the Prime Minister of Italy?

External Affairs Minister: The issue was certainly raised and discussed. And it was for me to bring to their notice, as I am sure that they are aware, that the matter is pending now including in the Supreme Court where the matter has been heard and judgment is reserved. We reasserted and reaffirmed that India has an outstanding system of law, very transparent, and the rule of law prevails in our country, and all friendly countries should repose faith and would find that their faith is vindicated is the word we used. But, the free and fair system of adjudication in our country is something that we are committed to, and I believe is something that should be recognized and adhered to by all our friends. I think because the matter is sub judice, the matter has been heard in the Supreme Court, we should await the judgment of the Supreme Court before saying anything further.

Question: Sir, on UN Security Council's move to blacklist Haqqani Network.

External Affairs Minister: As you know, our concerns on security as far as operation of some groups that are involved in cross-order terrorism is very clear and clearly known to all our neighbours, as indeed to all our friendly countries that we speak to. This is something that is a logical step forward. And I hope that this has an effective impact not just on that group itself but on other groups as well.