CBI loses Purulia case, Kim Davy won't be extradited

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New Delhi:  The CBI has lost its case to have Kim Davy extradited to India. The Danish High Court has rejected Denmark's decision to send Mr Davy to stand trial in India for what's known as the Purulia Arms Case. The court said it was refusing the extradition on humanitarian grounds. The five judges expressed concern about reports of overcrowded prisons, police torture and poor human rights records in India.

Mr Davy, who is 49, is wanted by India for dropping AK-47 rifles, anti-tank grenades rocket launchers and over 25,000 rounds of ammunition over Purulia in West Bengal on the night of December 17, 1995.

The CBI claims the weapons were meant for a sect called the Ananda Marg, who wanted to revolt against West Bengal's Communist government.

The Danish government had in April last year sanctioned Mr Davy's extradition with two major pre-conditions: That he would not be given the death  penalty in India and that if a local court sentenced him to prison, he would be allowed to serve his time in a Danish prison.

Mr Davy had challenged his government's decision in the Danish High Court. "He has not been contesting evidence or the investigation done by CBI," said Dharini Mishra, a spokesperson for the investigating agency. Instead, she explained, his arguments in court have focused largely on the poor conditions of India's prisons, and the country's human rights record.

Since the Danish government is defending its decision, the CBI was not a party in the case but it sent a team to assist the prosecution with facts and Indian laws. In May, India was deeply embarrassed when that CBI team landed in Copenhagen with an arrest warrant that had expired.  

The Danish government is likely to appeal against today's verdict in the country's Supreme Court. Home Secretary GK Pillai has said that the Indian government will also appeal in the Danish Supreme Court.

In December 1995, Mr Davy and British national Peter Bleach they took off in a cargo plane from the Gatwick Airport in London. On board was a crew of five Latvians, and four tons of weapons. They managed to air-drop the arms over Purulia on December 17 and escape to Thailand.

It would later emerge that while Indian had been tipped off to Mr Davy's mission by Britain's MI6, Indian intelligence officials moved too slowly and inefficiently to stop the air-drop. Mr Davy flew through Indian airspace undetected.

He almost pulled that off on his return journey a few days later. The plane was intercepted over Mumbai and made to land. Mr Davy managed to escape - some reports state he bribed airport security officials.  Mr Bleach and the five Latvians were arrested.

As a result of diplomatic pressure from Russia and the UK, the Latvians were allowed to return home in 2000; Mr Bleach was freed in 2004.

Mr Davy was traced to Denmark in 2001. Since then, India has been trying to have him extradited.

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