New portal to help file letters rogatory in extradition probes | India News


NEW DELHI: Indicating that international investigations were a top priority, the Union home ministry is learnt to have designed a new online portal for law enforcement agencies to file communications like letters rogatory (LR) and mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) while seeking details from foreign countries during a probe.
These requests currently take a lot of time to get processed as they are often not filed with adequate details or in correct format due to lack of awareness on the subject. Many a times, the requests are returned, ignored or turned down by the foreign country on technical grounds and the process has to be repeated all over again.
Home secretary Ajay Bhalla, during a workshop by the CBI on “extradition matters” on Tuesday, emphasised the need of extensive training on MLATs and LRs to law enforcement personnel in the chain for effective investigation of crimes having transnational foot prints.
The participants in the workshop — which also focused on utilising Interpol Notices and drafting requests focusing on crime — included Interpol Liaison Officers (ILOs) from states, Union Territories, other law enforcement agencies (LEAs) apart from officers from CBI.
Bhalla also stressed that the requests from other countries for legal assistance should also be treated on priority as part of reciprocity. He invited feedback and practical suggestions for improving the efficacy of international cooperation channels for assistance in criminal matters.
Through MLATs, a formal request for investigation abroad can be made for collection of evidence, examination of witness residing abroad and execution of order of attachment and freezing. Letters rogatory are formal requests from a court to a foreign court for judicial assistance in an investigation.
Many law enforcement agencies, CBI in particular, have to use LRs and MLATs in investigation of various cases. A few months ago, the agency had approached the United States under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty for collecting metadata and content data of the email id of a “Yogi”, believed to be NSE official Anand Subramanian, in the co-location scam case. The CBI has recently received a nod for issue of letters rogatory to a Singapore court for obtaining evidence against Mainak Mehta, the brother-in-law of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.
The CBI has sent a judicial request to Hong Kong seeking assistance in its probe into a racket that allegedly imported diamonds with inflated invoices worth Rs 156 crore to camouflage its money laundering activities, officials said. The central agency has dispatched the letters rogatory (LR), a judicial request, to the Secretary for Justice, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The ED had sent a letters rogatory to Hungary in the Sushant Singh Rajput probe.


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