Sanjay Bhandari, an accused arms dealer and proclaimed offender wanted in India on money laundering charges, has made an application for part-adjournment in his extradition hearing, a London court said on Thursday. The application will be taken up at a short hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on May 26 before proceeding to the fuller extradition hearing in the case, scheduled for June 7. Bhandari, who was arrested on an extradition warrant in July 2020 and is contesting his extradition to India, meanwhile remains on bail and has been excused from appearing for the case management hearings.
The hearing is related to an application for adjournment of part of the hearing, District Judge Michael Snow said at a hearing held under COVID guidelines in a hybrid virtual and physical setting on Thursday. A full hearing in the case has been scheduled between June 7 and 11, but that timeline is likely to change or extend further as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), appearing on behalf of the Indian authorities, indicated that more time would be required to present the case.
CPS counsel Ben Lloyd informed the court that the Indian authorities remain confident that they would be able to meet the May-end deadline for submissions towards the extradition hearing next month, subject to the pandemic situation in India. Back in February, Bhandari had appeared at the court and spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth. The 59-year-old is sought by the Indian authorities for prosecution for money laundering contrary to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002. He faces cases against him in India filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The Indian government’s extradition request for Bhandari had been certified by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel on June 16 last year and he was arrested a month later on July 15 and remains on bail.