Cornered CBI dismisses ‘expired warrant’ controversy

Arun Bothra, the CBI DIG in charge of the extraditing Kim Davy, the accused in the Purulia arms drop case, has dismissed allegations that the ‘expired warrant’ carried by CBI to Copenhagen was a big issue.

Bothra, speaking to media in Copenhagen, said it was a mere technicality, even as calls increased for home minister P Chidambaram to step down after the second such goof up in two days. Yesterday, Chidambaram claimed that the inclusion of an arrested ‘terrorist’ in a list of fugitives given to Pakistan was a ‘human error.’

“The Court did not spend even a single minute on it,” Bothra said, when asked about the negative fall-out from carrying an expired warrant for Kim Davy’s arrest.

“It does not matter.. whether the warrant is expired or not.. We thought we’ll renew it just as a matter of extra precaution.. The defence tried to use the argument, but was dismissed by the Court,” he said.

Meanwhile the issue has been highlighted by opposition parties in India as proof that the Congress government is not interested in securing Davy’s extradition to India to face charges of illegal arms smuggling and activities against the nation. There are rumors that many in the government knew about the incident in which unauthorised arms were dropped from an Antonov aircraft in Purulia district in the state of West Bengal on 17 December 1995.

The consignment included several hundred AK-47 rifles and more than a million rounds of ammunition and the mystery around it has never been fully explained.

Davy, on his part, has said that the consignment was paid for by the Indian government in collaboration with the British government to destabilize the Left government in West Bengal. It was planned by the then Narasimha Rao government of the Congress party, he has alleged.

“The objective ‘was to destabilize the government of West Bengal so that president’s rule could be declared and the CPI-M government disposed,” he said.

Among those arrested in 1995 were five Latvians and a British arms dealer Peter Bleach.

The arrested were tried in courts and sentenced to life terms, but let out. Bleach was extradited to England in 2004 during the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA rule, allegedly under British pressure. Davy, who had escaped to Denmark, is yet to be tried.