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Delhi High CourtIndian Cases

Om Prakash Srivastava vs State on 24 May 2004

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Delhi High Court
Om Prakash Srivastava vs State on 24 May, 2004
Equivalent citations: 112(2004)DLT125
Author: R.S. Sodhi
Bench: R.S. Sodhi

R.S. Sodhi, J.

1. This criminal writ petition has been filed with a prayer that this Court may be pleased to quash orders dated 22.9.2003 and 25.9.2003 passed by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Tis Hazari, Delhi, and stay of further proceedings in FIR No. 33/2003 pending before the learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.

2. Brief facts of the case are that the petitioner is a citizen of India who was extradited from the Republic of Singapore in the year 1995. He has been in judicial custody. A case under Sections 364-A, 387 and 120B, IPC was registered against him vide FIR No. 33/2003 on the basis of a complaint filed by one Sheetal P. Singh, son of Sh. Lalta Prasad Singh, resident of B-38, Hill View Apartments, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi to the effect that on 15.4.2003 he received extortion threat from underworld gangster Om Prakash Srivastava @ Babloo Srivastava and his associates. Shri Sheetal Singh is into the business of manufacturing and marketing of High Security Vehicle Registration Plates and owing to the business rivalry with one Mr. Nitan Shah, the latter engaged underworld gangster Om Prakash Srivastava to threaten him. Om Prakash Srivastava is lodged in jail and Nitin Shah is his past associate in a murder case of Delhi. About 4 months back from the date of complaint, one Jitender @ Jitu called the complainant on phone and persuaded him to meet Babloo Srivastava in Lucknow jail to settle the matter related to Nitin Shah. Subsequently, on 11.3.2003 the complainant was abducted by Jitender and others and was taken to Babloo in Lucknow jail. There, Babloo threatened him to settle the matter with Nitin Shah on his directions and pay Rs. 25 lacs to him or else he (the complainant) would be killed. Thereafter, the complainant received threatening calls/SMS from Babloo, Jitender and another underworld gangster Fazlu who is based abroad. His business partner, Mr. Ravi Sumani, and work associate, Mr. Diwakar Singh, also received similar calls from one Anand Srivastav, an associate of Babloo, and from Babloo himself. On this complaint, FIR No. 33/2003 under Section 387/120B, IPC at Police Station Special Cell, Lodhi Colony on the same day and the investigation was taken up. During the same period STF of Lucknow, U.P. were also developing information regarding the criminal activities of Babloo and his associates and had been intercepting their conversations, which also revealed extortion threats to Shri Sheetal Singh. On 22.4.2003 SI Anil Kumar Singh of STF, Lucknow got a case registered vide FIR No. 85/2003 (case crime No. 125/2002) under Section 384/386/506/34/120-B, IPC and 2/3 Gangster Act at PS Alam Bagh, Lucknow in which 16 persons were named as accused which also included Babloo Srivastav, Anand @ Pradeep Kumar Khurana, Jitender Singh and Fazlu-ur-Rehman @ Fazlu. The FIR also had a mention of extortion/threatening calls to Shri Sheetal Singh. On 23.4.2003, in a joint raid STF, U.P., arrested some associates of Babloo including Pradeep Khurana @ Anand, son of Janak Raj Khurana, resident of E-3, Sought City, PS Mohan Lal Ganj, Lucknow, U.P. He was later arrested in the present case on 20.5.2003 against production warrant. Later on during the course of investigation, Section 364-A, IPC was added in the case on 16.07.2003 as the contents of FIR and the disclosure of accused Pradeep Khurana revealed the commission of offence under Section 364-A, IPC for the complainant was abducted by the accused persons on 11.3.2003 in order to extort money from him. The learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate vide his order dated 22.9.2003 allowed formal arrest of the accused-petitioner in the foresaid FIR and on the petitioner being produced before him on 25.9.2003 allowed the Investigating Officer to effect formal arrest.

3. It was contended by Counsel for the petitioner that no investigation nor trial for any offence other than for which the petitioner has been extradited can be proceeded with in view of Sections 19 and 21 of the Extradition Act, 1962 as amended in 1993 (for short ‘the Act’). Counsel for the State contended that the stand taken by the petitioner is misconceived and not maintainable as the same does not fall within the ambit of ‘fugitive criminal’ as defined in the Act. Section 21 of the Act, on which reliance is placed by the petitioner, has no application.

4. I have heard Counsels for the parties and gone through the pleadings. To understand the case better, Section 21 of the Act may be quoted:

“Section 21. Accused or convicted person surrendered or returned by Foreign State not to be tried for certain offences–Whenever any person accused or convicted for an offence, which, if committed in India would be an extradition offence, is surrendered or returned by a foreign State, such person shall not, until he has been restored or has had an opportunity of returning to that State, we tried in India for an offence other than–
(a) the extradition offence in relation to which he was surrendered or returned; or
(b) any lesser offence disclosed by the fact proved for the purposes of securing his surrender or return other than an offence in relation to which an order for his surrender or return could not be lawfully made; or
(c) the offence in respect of which the foreign State has given its consent.”
5. From a bare reading of the aforesaid provision it is evident that whenever a person accused or convicted of an offence which is committed in India is extradited, he shall not be tried for any offence committed earlier to his extradition other than in relation to which he was surrendered or returned. This clearly indicates that any subsequent offence committed by the person who has been extradited, surrendered or returned is not covered by the bar in Section 21 of the Act. The bar is created in respect of those offences which have been committed in India prior to the person being surrendered or returned for which extradition has been granted as per treaty/convention/law. Section 21 of the Act is not a carte blanche to continue to commit offences in India after being surrendered/returned but governs only those offences which have been committed prior to extradition arid prosecution only in offences for which permission to prosecute has been granted by the Foreign State. Reference made by Counsel for the petitioner to a judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Daya Singh Lahoria v. Union of India and Ors., does not advance the proposition sought to be canvassed by him. The interpretation sought to be placed by the petitioner vis-a-vis the amendment made in Section 21 of the Act also does not advance his proposition since Sub-clause (c) of Section 21 of the Act talks of “the offences in respect of which the Foreign State has given its consent” and is in respect of offences for which the person was sought to be extradited/surrendered/returned and does not qualify the offences not yet committed.

6. In this view of the mater I hold that the petitioner can be tried for offences committed by him in India after being surrendered/returned by the Republic of Singapore. Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 1138 of 2003 and Crl.M.A. 1163 of 2003 are dismissed.