A court in the United Kingdom on Monday ruled that arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari can be extradited to India to face charges of tax evasion and money laundering, reported PTI.
After passing the order, the Westminster Magistrates Court in London sent his case to the country’s home secretary for further processing, reported The Times of India. The Indian government’s extradition requests had been certified by former British Home Secretary Priti Patel in June 2020 and he was arrested on an extradition warrant the following month that year.
Bhandari is accused of defrauding the Indian income tax authorities between July 1, 2015, and February 7, 2017, by submitting two tax returns in which he deliberately hid details about his foreign assets and foreign income. As a resident of India at the time, the 60-year-old was obligated to pay tax on all his global assets and income.
In 2016, Bhandari had fled India for London, despite a lookout notice against him. In October 2016, a case was registered against him under the Official Secrets Act after confidential defence ministry documents were recovered from his residence during an Income Tax department raid, reported The Times of India.
Besides tax evasion, Bhandari is also one of the accused in a case of alleged corruption in the procurement of Pilatus trainer aircraft in 2009. In June 2019, the Central Bureau of Investigation had filed a case against Bhandari and unknown officials of the Indian Air Force, Defence Ministry and Switzerland-based Pilatus Aircraft.
Bhandari is also booked in a case for allegedly buying a house in London under a benami for businessman Robert Vadra.