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Parliamentary panel asks MEA to set up task force to look issues relating to extradition requests


NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) should set up a task force to look into the reasons for pendency of India’s extradition requests to various countries and suggest measures for their prompt fructification, a parliamentary panel said on Wednesday.

In a report, the committee also expressed disappointment over the MEA not heeding to its recommendation in an earlier report to set up the inter-ministerial group.

The parliamentary committee on MEA in its 18th report said the recommendation was made as it was concerned about the high number of requests under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) framework.

“The committee had desired that the Ministry of External Affairs establish a task force to look into the reasons for the pendency and suggest measures for prompt fructification of all extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance requests pending with various countries,” it said.

The report was tabled in Parliament.

The panel said the MEA informed it that matters relating to extradition and MLAT requests are taken up during the joint working group

meetings on counter terrorism (JWG-CT) with various countries.

It said the MEA further noted that Indian missions are regularly pursuing the pending requests with respective countries.

“While taking note that inter-ministerial jurisdictional cooperation is necessitated to ensure speedy action in the matter, the committee are disappointed to note that the ministry’s reply is silent on the recommendation of setting up of a task force to look into the matter,” the report said.

It said the MEA have also apprised it about the areas of jurisdiction of the various ministries in the matter.

However, the committee said it is of the firm view that setting up of the task force comprising all the ministries concerned would bolster the efforts being made by the ministry in the matter.

“The committee, therefore, reiterate their earlier recommendation that the ministry to make serious efforts to institute a task force to look into the reasons for the delay in honouring of the extradition requests and suggest measures for the prompt fructification of all extradition and MLAT requests pending with various countries and apprise the committee accordingly,” the panel said.

The parliamentary panel also referred to its earlier recommendation to the MEA to bring in more and more countries into the network for mutual and automated exchange of financial information to fight against financial crimes.

“In their action taken reply, the ministry has informed that the government of India has mandated Financial Intelligence Unit India (FIU-India) for sharing information relating to the fight against financial crimes,” it said.

The committee said the ministry has further informed that where required, a representative of FIU-India and relevant agencies are included in the Indian delegation for the meetings of JWG-CT to exchange relevant information particularly on countering financing of terrorism. As the FIU works under administrative control of the finance ministry, the committee urged the MEA to actively take up the matter with the Ministry of Finance and push for bringing in more and more countries into the network of mutual and automated exchange of financial information. (PTI)

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