UK court refuses extradition of couple who killed their adopted Indian son

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The British judiciary has denied the possibility of extradition of an Indian couple accused of murdering their adopted son in India for the insurance payout stating that the likelihood of life in jail without parole would breach their human rights.

The couple is accused of allegedly hiring a hitman to kill 11-year-old Gopal and grab the insurance payout. According to the confession made by one of the hitmen, Britain’s chief magistrate rule stated that there is strong evidence to convict them of Gopal’s murder but they managed to evade extradition as justice Dingemans upheld the refusal to extradite the couple on the grounds that they face a punishment of life imprisonment without parole in India on the charge of double murder.

“This would be ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’, breaching Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and making their extradition unlawful,” the order denying extradition of the couple read.

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The ruling drew ire from a wide spectrum of people. Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who sits on the Commons home affairs select committee, expressed his anguish over the travesty of justice, emphatically asking, “Do we really want suspected child killers roaming the streets of London? This is undoubtedly a heinous crime and I believe many people would agree that the couple should be given harshest punishment if they are found guilty. It is up to the Indian legal system to decide on the appropriate penalty and we should not be standing in the way of justice being served for the victims.”

David Green, belonging to the Civitas democracy think-tank, said that it is a little extraordinary and unjust to not assist a friendly, Commonwealth country in ensuring justice in a case like this. He also added that if this crime had been committed in the United Kingdom, a whole life sentence may have been a sentencing option.

Arti Dhir, 55, and her husband Kaval Raijada, 30, are charged for conspiring an alleged plot to kill 11-year-old Gopal Sejani to receive a windfall insurance amount of £150,000.

In 2015, the duo from West London had adopted the 11-year-old as their after travelling to Keshod in Gujarat. Advertisements were published in local newspapers, promising they would take a child to live a better life in London if their application was successful.

The couple met Gopal who was living in penury with his elder sister and her husband. His sister and her husband agreed to the adoption and started preparing adoption papers. However, the Indian police claim that the duo had a sinister plan in mind on the pretext of adopting a poverty-stricken child.

The police officials claim that soon after Gopal’s adoption, Dhir took out an insurance policy of £150,000 in Gopal’s name which would payout in 10 years or in case of his death. Dhir had reportedly paid the premium of £15,000 twice.

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According to Superintendent of Junagadh Police, Saurab Singh, ‘After a few days, she took out an insurance policy in his name. It was a big amount and she was well aware of the fact that in the event of Gopal’s death, she would be massively rewarded by the Insurance company.”

Shortly after meeting with Gopal and agreeing to adopt him, the couple returned to London and Gopal stayed in Gujarat while his Visa papers were being prepared.

Later in 2017, Gopal was kidnapped by two bike-borne men, stabbed and abandoned at a roadside. His brother-in-law, Mr Kardani, who tried to defend him was also attacked by the assailants. Both of them succumbed to their injuries in hospital.

The police had caught Nitish Mund, one of the assailants, who admitted that he was paid by Raijada, to take down the kid. Investigations found that Raijada transferred money to Mund shortly before Gopal was killed. The insurance money was not paid to Arti Dhir after the revelations by police in India.

Arti Dhir and Kaval Raijada were arrested by UK police in 2017 after a red cornder notice was issued by Interpol on India’s request. They couple can still be tried in UK as the alleged plot was hatched in UK, if the cops there investigate the case, the court said while refusing their extradition.

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