London/New Delhi: Britain has ordered extradition of one of the main Naval war room leak accused Ravi Shankaran to India to face trial, a move that may expedite court proceedings pending for several months.
"On May 22, the Secretary of State, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed an order for Ravi Shankaran`s extradition to India. Mr Shankaran is accused of industrial espionage under the Indian Official Secrets Act," a Home Office spokesperson said in London today.
UK Home Secretary Theresa May issued the orders for his extradition to India and facing trial but gave Shankaran, close relative of former Naval Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, 14 days time to file an appeal in the case, CBI said in New Delhi.
Shankaran`s defence team told the court that he intends to appeal against the order. Unless an appeal is filed within the time-frame, the authorities will proceed with extradition procedures immediately.
At a hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on March 27, District Judge Nicholas Evans had said in his ruling that "a case to answer has been made out" against the accused, clearing the way for the Home Secretary to take the final call.
CBI, while pressing for his extradition, had assured the Westminster Magistrates Court in Britain that his bail will not be opposed once he is brought back to face trial.
The 49-year-old Shankaran had listed denial of bail in India among the reasons for opposing his extradition to this country, sources said.
The CBI plans to send a team to the UK to bring him back once all legal formalities of that country are completed as Shankaran, against whom an Interpol Red Corner notice had also been issued, may be opposing the decision of the British Home Secretary in the court in London.
About giving an assurance, the CBI justified it by saying that he had been named in a charge sheet and all he required was to face the trial.
The retired naval commander, who was arrested in London in May 2010, has been given conditional bail, which includes the requirement to live at a new UK address provided by him, a deposit of 20,000 pounds and no right to foreign travel.
Shankaran is one of the key accused in the case of leaking classified information from the War Room to arms dealers. He has been absconding since the case was registered by CBI in March 2006.