New Delhi: A Delhi court has recommended to the Centre to extradite to the US a fugitive criminal, who was serving as a priest in Minnesota and wanted there to face trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.
The court said that prima facie a case was made out for extraditing Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting the girl who, as according to records, is undergoing treatment for post traumatic stress disorder.
"... I am of the considered opinion that prima facie case is made out for extradition of fugitive criminal Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul to the requesting state to stand trial.
"Hence, I hereby recommend to Union of India the extradition of fugitive criminal Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul to the requesting state i.E. US," Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ajay Garg said.
The Ministry of External Affairs, through special public prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta, had moved the court saying that a request was received from the US in February 2011 seeking extradition of Jeyapaul to stand trial in the case.
Giving details of records received from US Embassy, the ministry told the court that Jeyapaul was serving as a priest in three churches in Minnesota and had allegedly met the girl during a conference.
It said that the girl went to the church in 2004 when he allegedly sexually assaulted her and continued to abuse her till August 2005, while referring to the documents received from the USA.
If convicted for offences alleged against him there, the accused may get a jail term of up to 30 years.
The prosecutor also argued before the court that Jeyapaul had repeatedly threatened the girl of dire consequences if she disclosed about the incident to anyone and a warrant for his arrest was issued on December 28, 2010 by a court in Roseau County there.
During the adjudication of the matter, the accused, who came back to India in August 2005, denied all the allegations levelled against him.