Key Dawood aide in mind, India to ink extradition treaty with Thailand

FP

The case of Munna Zingada has flummoxed Indian authorities for long. A Dawood Ibrahim aide, Zingada is wanted in numerous cases by the Mumbai Police. But he has been in a Bangkok prison for about a decade with both India and Pakistan claiming him.

Islamabad says he is Mohammed Salim, a Pakistani national, and has provided identity documents to counter Indian paperwork. Amid fears that he may just walk after his prison term is over for an attempted attack on gangster Chhota Rajan in 2001, India has now provided "verifiable evidence", thought to be DNA samples of his family members, to strengthen its claim.

Such is the worry on the Indian side that the matter has been raised at political levels, including with the Thai foreign minister when he visited India. The Thai government could provide no specific assurance in Zingada's case, but this provoked discussions on an extradition treaty.

And even as the case is proving to be a huge legal-cum-diplomatic effort for New Delhi, India has managed to sew up an extradition treaty with Thailand - a key highlight of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's daylong visit to Bangkok Thursday - in an effort to pre-empt any Pakistani attempt in the future to put a hold on a detainee wanted in India.

The agreement will be signed during the visit.

After the treaty, sources said, India will not require to prove the identity of its fugitives the way it is being necessitated in Zingada's case. More importantly, Indian documents will be recognised to initiate extradition.

Zingada's case is similar to the problems India encountered in trying to bring back Zabiuddin Ansari from Saudi Arabia. In that case, although both sides have entered into an extradition treaty it is still not effective because Riyadh is yet to ratify it.

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