Delhi HC seeks Centre’s reply on plea by fugitive rape accused in UK

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The Delhi High Court on Monday sought a status report from the Centre on a plea filed by an absconding Indian-origin Portuguese citizen, who is accused in a rape case in London, United Kingdom in 2017.

A bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh was hearing the plea of Jose Inacio Cota, a resident of Goa, seeking directions for a full disclosure of evidence, collected during the probe of alleged rape reported from a pub in London.

Arguing that there is a treaty between India and the UK, petitioner’s counsel Arpit Batra submitted that the UK is bound to provide all the documents and evidence — physical and electronic — collected during the investigation against a person of Indian origin. This will include medical evidence, forensic evidence, CCTV footage, the audio recording of the interviews taken by the UK police, details of calls made to the UK Police, formal police complaints, and a record of seizure of articles.

However, the counsel, appearing for the Centre, objected to the plea on the ground that the petitioner is not appearing in extradition proceedings before the lower court. It was pointed out that the petitioner is wanted in a rape case registered against him in London in May 28, 2017 and his extradition request has been filed by the UK authorities to face trial in the matter. The court will hear the matter further on March 11.

The petition stated that the petitioner has been vexatiously roped into a false case in the UK, which is racially motivated and thus discriminatory and prejudicial toward the petitioner.

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