New Delhi: A Delhi court on Friday cleared the extradition of NRI Maninder Pal Singh Kohli to Britain in a case relating to the rape and murder of British teenager Hannah Foster.
The order, passed by the Patiala House court, came after a prolonged trial, which had begun in September 2004. Kohli allegedly raped and murdered 17-year-old Foster in 2003 and then fled to India from Britain two days after the victim's body was found.
"We are delighted with the news. It was a long wait of three years," Hillary Foster, Hannah's mother, told CNN-IBN in her first reaction. "We have been determined for this to happen. The person responsible for killing our lovely daughter must face death. This has been a good day. We have made progress."
Kohli has been in custody for over two-and-a-half years after his arrest on July 14, 2004 at Kalimpong in West Bengal. Opposing the extradition proceedings, which began in September 2004, Kohli had said that he was merely a suspect in the case.
Mrs Foster said all this while the family kept its fight for justice even when it looked things were faltering.
"We are pleased at this positive development and grateful to the Indian authorities for the effort they have put into considering our extradition request. We hope that Kohli will soon be back in the UK to face trial for Hannah's murder"
"There were times when we thought we won't get justice. But we would keep campaigning. This had to happen. It's your natural sense of right and wrong. No man can do this to another person's daughter and get away with it. So, we were absolutely determined even though when it looked as though it was faltering, we kept trying."
Kohli is charged with the rape and murder of 17-year-old British girl Hannah Foster and had fled to India from UK two days after the victim's body was found.
Kohli has not been interrogated by the UK police in the case as yet. Pal, who cannot appeal in this case, has 60 days to file a writ petition to ask the court to reconsider.
In April this year, the Ministry of External Affairs of the Indian Government had given a virtual go-ahead to the extradition of Kohli when it told a Delhi court that there was a prima facie case against Kohli. The government said it favoured his extradition to the UK for facing the trial.
The Ministry of External Affairs said he was a "fugitive criminal" and his conduct of fleeing from one place to another to avoid prosecution made the case fit to extradite him to the country where he allegedly committed the crime.
MEA's counsel AK Vali and Navin Kumar Matta submitted before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kamini Lau that the conduct of the fugitive criminal in fleeing from one place to another clearly establishes a prima facie case against him warranting his trial in the UK.
The MEA took the stand on the request of its British counterpart. Opposing the extradition proceedings, Kohli had maintained that he was merely a suspect in the case.