Court dismisses bail plea of fugitive criminal wanted in USA

A fugitive criminal, who is wanted in the US to face trial in a case relating to unlawful export of drugs through Mexico, has been denied bail by a Delhi court which said that allegations levelled against him were grave.

New Delhi: A fugitive criminal, who is wanted in the US to face trial in a case relating to unlawful export of drugs through Mexico, has been denied bail by a Delhi court which said that allegations levelled against him were grave.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Ajay Garg rejected the bail plea of fugitive criminal Syed Khawaja Moin, who was arrested in Kolkata last month, observing that his "malafide intention" could be seen from the record and e-mail conversations between him and other conspirators.

"The export of shipment carrying pseudoephedrine (drugs) to Mexico and its seizure at Florida is not in dispute. As per the record, e-mail conversations between the FC (fugitive criminal) and other co-conspirators were tracked from where the malafide intention of the FC can be gathered.

"Further, inquiry is at an initial stage. Allegations against the FC are grave in nature. The defence taken by the counsel is a matter of evidence. Hence, in the totality of the circumstances, at this stage, I am not inclined to release FC Syed Khwaja Moin on bail," the ACMM said.

During the hearing on the bail plea, the Centre, through Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), informed the court that a request for extradition of Moin has been received from the US and he is wanted there to face trial in the case.

Advocate Naveen Kumar Matta, appearing for MEA, said that as per the extradition request, Moin had in August-September 2008 allegedly attempted to send three separate shipments containing over six million pseudoephedrine tablets at Cancun in Mexico.

He said these shipments were seized at Miami International Airport when it was being sent to Mexico.

Matta also argued that documents received from USA prima facie indicate about Moin's involvement in exporting drugs and controlled substances in the US through Mexico and Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala.

Moin's counsel, however, countered the submissions of the Centre contending that his client never exported any substance to the US and he cannot be held liable for seizure of shipments at the airport there.

The defence counsel also argued that Moin is an authorised exporter of drugs having the requisite licences and permission from concerned authorities and there was not an iota of evidence that he was involved in exporting pseudoephedrine to USA.

Moin's lawyer also contended that the court should protect the interest of Indian citizens and they should not be extradited to the requesting State merely on their asking and without having any basis.

During the hearing, the MEA told the court that as per the documents received from the United States, the offences for which Moin had been charged were punishable in India under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.  

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