The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) came in for strong criticism on Thursday over its team landing in Copenhagen to seek extradition of the main accused in the 1995 Purulia arms drop case, Kim Davy, with an expired warrant. Terming the goof-up as an “oversight”, a CBI official said that the agency has now sought revalidation of the warrant, which will be extended till Aug 20. The warrant expired in January.
The government had sent a two-member team – a CBI officer and a lawyer – to Denmark seeking Davy’s extradition. The team left for Denmark May 16. Davy had earlier alleged that Indian intelligence agencies had a role in the arms drop case. Speaking to a leading news channel in India Davy had alleged that the then P.V. Narasimha Rao government had plotted the operation to destabilise the West Bengal government by arming locals in the Left-ruled state. He claimed that India’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) planned the operation with the help of its British counterpart MI-5.
By Thursday evening however, the Kolkata Special Crime Branch officials of the agency had scrambled to get the fresh warrant which was issued by the special CBI court and a scanned copy was sent to the the team in Copenhangen. The agency then sent original copy of the warrant as well so that team there is fully equipped when hearing resumes today. “All documents are in order with the CBI team,” CBI spokesperson Dharini Mishra said in Delhi. A two-member team of CBI is in Copenhagen to assist authorities there with the facts and evidence collected against Davy. Though India is not a party to the case in the Danish court, the role of the team is limited to helping the prosecutors there with necessary material evidence. A five-member constitutional bench of the Denmark High Court is hearing the plea of the Denmark government which challenged a lower court order against the extradition of Davy to India.
The decision to despatch the CBI team was taken days after Davy and one of the convicted persons in the case, Peter Bleach, had alleged that the Purulia arms drop operation was planned by the Indian government and its intelligence agencies to destabilise the Left Front government in West Bengal. The government had, however, quickly denied the allegation saying it was aimed at misleading the prosecuting agency and the court in Denmark which are seized with the matter of his extradition to India. The CBI had registered the case on December 28, 1995 after sophisticated arms including AK-47 assault rifles, anti-tank grenades and other weapons were dropped from a foreign plane in the fields of Purulia in West Bengal on the night of December 17, 1995.
An Interpol Red Corner Notice was issued against Kim Davy in 1996 on the request of the agency. Since he was traced to Denmark in 2001, efforts continued to extradite him to India even though there was no extradition treaty between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury, criticising the CBI, said they have a “lackadaisical approach” in seeking the extradition of Davy, accused of dropping a cache of arms in West Bengal’s Purulia district from an An-26 aircraft Dec 17, 1995. “CBI must immediately change its lackadaisical approach. They must correct it in the interest of the country. It is a very serious matter considering internal security,” said Yechury, adding, “CBI must ensure Davy’s extradition in the interest of the country”.