Explained International

Three Difficult Extraditions that PM Modi Made Possible

Modi Michel Extradition

Extradition refers to a process in which a country hands over an accused or convicted person to another country where the crime was actually committed. Generally, countries from all over the world sign extradition treaties among themselves so that deportation of criminals can be facilitated.

According to the Government data, India has entered into extradition treaties with 43 countries and in extradition arrangements with 10 countries. A total of 68 fugitives have already been extradited to India so far, the latest being Christian Michel for his alleged middleman role in AgustaWestland Scam which has put Gandhi Family on the dock.

Extradition is not an easy process as there are many issues that deter extradition of a person from one country to another. For instance, a country, where capital punishment is legally banned will not extradite a criminal to India where he/she can be given capital punishment. Thus, extradition is more about the rising status of a country or strong diplomacy of its leadership, especially in the high-profile cases.

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over in 2014, India has seen many extraditions but three of them made it to the national headlines as they were one of the most difficult ones. Earlier, that is before 2014, Government of India kept chasing them but could not bring them back to India.

Here are the three cases:
1. Christian Michel

Extradited from – UAE

Extradition Year – 2018

Why was it difficult?
  • He is a middleman who allegedly played a role in AgustaWestland case. His extradition was difficult as Christian Michel is a British citizen but was being extradited from a third country (UAE).
  • His extradition had other issues too like his questioning by Indian authorities in India could reveal a lot about the politically most powerful family of India. So, there could be a possibility that there were some efforts to stall this extradition process.
  • According to a NDTV report, Indian agencies led by National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, worked in a mission mode in UAE to nab Christian Michel.
  • Michel’s extradition to India shows country’s rising power to bring culprits to justice irrespective of which part of the world they are in.
2. Chhota Rajan Alias Rajendra Sadashiv Nickhale

Extradited from – Indonesia

Extradition Year–2015

Why was it difficult?
  • He was an underworld don believed to have got assistance from various international gangs and gangsters and was on a run for 27 years.
  • He kept hiding in various countries of South East Asia and was reported to have had connections with some people in the security establishments in India.
3. Anup Chetia

Extradited from – Bangladesh

Extradition Year – 2015

Why was it difficult?
  • He is one of the founding leaders of the banned outfit, United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), which is known to have waged a war against the Indian state.
  • The then UPA Government reportedly demanded the extradition of Anup Chetia from Bangladesh. However, there was no response from the Bangladesh authorities, and the absence of the extradition treaty between the two countries was cited as the reason for the same. In fact, the UPA Government could not get Anup Chetia extradited despite signing such a treaty in 2013.
  • It is only after the much needed diplomacy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that secessionist and ULFA leader Anup Chetia could be brought to India.

India is generally been seen as a soft power across the world and such high-profile extraditions required high-level diplomacy which clearly did not happen under the previous governments. Recently, a UK Court ordered Vijay Mallya’s extradition to India after a tough battle fought by the Indian Government. This is another case that justifies the sharpening diplomacy of India in recent times after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over.