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CBI extradition mission to US

New Delhi, March 20: A two-member team from the CBI will leave for the US tomorrow for meetings with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other government departments to take up the issue of extraditing fugitives.

Led by chief P.C. Sharma, the team is expected to meet FBI director Robert Mueller and top officials in the departments of justice and homeland security.

Highly-placed sources said Sharma is likely to take up the issue of persons wanted in India and hiding in the US. It is suspected that at least 30 fugitives, against whom Interpol has issued red corner notices, are suspected to be staying in the US.

Sharma is also expected to take up the issue of extradition of Chetan Joglekar, who is wanted in a fraud case, and Kulbir Singh, a Punjab militant wanted in more than three cases here.

Sources do not rule out the possibility of Sharma talking informally with the FBI director on underworld activities in the United Arab Emirates. The CBI, they said, is hoping that the US would help it get back more fugitives from Dubai.

Although relations with Dubai have been cordial ever since Aftab Ansari was deported to India in February 2001 for investigations into the American Center attack in Calcutta, there have been a few glitches as well. The most noticeable was the case of Anees Ibrahim, brother of India’s most wanted — Dawood Ibrahim. Anees was allowed to go to Pakistan though India had asked for his deportation.

India was able to seek Ansari’s deportation because of the diplomatic pressure exerted by America on the UAE government. The US had also helped India in the Abu Salem case. Salem was arrested in Lisbon, Portugal, on September 18 along with his wife Monica Bedi for allegedly travelling on fake documents. The Portuguese authorities are considering India’s request for Salem and Bedi’s extradition.

Sources said the CBI officials plan to focus on the international terrorism issue.

Mueller had paid a visit to Delhi more than a year ago. Then also the CBI director had handed over a list of persons wanted by India.

But not much has happened on that front.

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