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Big Win For India: UK Home Secy Orders Extradition Of Fugitive Arms Dealer Sanjay Bhandari

The United Kingdom Home Secretary has ordered the extradition of a fugitive arms dealer and proclaimed offender Sanjay Bhandari. 

Image: Republic

Big win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi led-Central government after United Kingdom Home Secretary has ordered the extradition of fugitive arms dealer and proclaimed offender Sanjay Bhandari. The extradition order of Bhandari was signed on January 12 by the UK home secretary Suella Braverman. Bhandari has 14 days time from the day of the order (beginning from Jan 12) to put in an application seeking permission to appeal in this matter.  

On November 2022, the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, United Kingdom ruled that Bhandari can be extradited to India. An alleged aide of Robert Vadra, Bhandari faced two extradition requests from the Indian authorities, the first related to money laundering and the second to tax evasion. The Indian government's extradition request for Bhandari had been certified by UK's then Home Secretary Priti Patel on June 16, 2020, and he was arrested a month later on July 15. 

The London-based businessman has been on bail on security provided to the court as he fought extradition on the cases against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED). 

Cases against Sanjay Bhandari?

India has moved to the UK for his extradition for money laundering and tax evasion cases against him. 

Sanjay Bhandari fled India in 2016 following raids at his residence for allegedly possessing classified information on the country's defence purchases. He was later charged under the Official Secrets Act. He had purportedly received a kickback of Rs 328 crore in connection with the Pilatus Aircraft deal. He has also been linked to several other business agreements, including the ONGC deal. In August 2020, ED raided 14 locations related to Bhandari in connection to the Pilatus aircraft scam.

Bhandari is also under the scanner of the CBI as well for allegedly purchasing Benami properties for Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. CBI's inquiry found that Bhandari's company had received the kickback amount through his Singapore-based bank account in 2009. From there the money was laundered to Bhandari's company in Dubai and then, it was allegedly used to purchase properties in London. It is notable here that the ED has already stated in open court that Bhandari was acting on behalf of Robert Vadra for the purchase of properties in London.

(With agency inputs)

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