An NRI couple in the United Kingdom, who has been accused of murdering a 12-year-old adopted boy in Gujarat for insurance money, is reportedly fighting extradition to India. The duo appeared at the Westminster magistrates' court on Monday, January 21.
Aarti Dhir, a native of Punjab, and Kanwaljit Raizada from Gujarat are said to have adopted 12-year-old Gopal Ajani in India. The couple then took a life cover for him and hired killers to murder the boy so that they could claim the Rs 1.3 crore insurance payout.
The masked killers then attacked Ajani, as well as, his brother-in-law Harshukh Karadani and both were stabbed to death. While co-accused Nitish Mund, who was studying with Raizada in London, had been taken into custody in India, the Indian government has sought the custody of Dhir and Raizada on charges of double murder.
The court heard that Dhir had also exchanged a few emails with Mund before the murder and the judge has now sought to see the content of those emails, reported the Times of India.
"If there is a combination of adoption, her denial to the police officer on arrest she had adopted Gopal, which is undoubtedly a lie, the insurance soon afterwards and then the emails, especially an email on the day, I am not sure one needs much more. Little bits of circumstantial evidence direct you to their guilt," TOI quoted Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot as saying.
However, lawyers representing the couple have said that their extradition would be a violation of their human rights, and that the condition of the prisons in India were deplorable. Edward Fitzgerald QC, representing Dhir, also added that she suffered from "moderate depression" and the prison may take a toll on her condition.
Fitzgerald also said that he would consult Dr Alan Mitchell, who could give the court more details of Dhir's mental health condition. "He may have more to say on Ms Dhir's psychiatric problems and overcrowding there is an issue. The regime is such you sleep on the floor and and that would be degrading to Ms Dhir with her condition," he added.
The UK court also heard human rights consultant James McManus' opinion about the jail in Gujarat. While he initially said that the jail met with the required standards and was not really overcrowded either, he did admit that the place could have been cleared for his visit.
"It would indicate they prepared for my arrival by removing some prisoners to provide a good impression of the prison," he told the court," he added.
The trial is ongoing and the court hasn't pronounced its verdict yet.