Couple who got their adopted 11-year-old son murdered to collect $193,000 insurance money likely to walk free
British judges ruled that London residents Kaval Raijada, 30, and Arti Dhir, 55, could not be extradited to India as their treatment there would be "inhuman and degrading" breaching Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
A British couple accused of having their newly-adopted son murdered to profit from a life insurance policy they had made for him will not be extradited to India to face punishment because it would violate their human rights, a panel of judges has ruled.
MEAWW previously reported that Kaval Raijada, 30, and Arti Dhir, 55, from Hanwell, London, were arrested in June 2017 in connection to the murder of 11-year-old Gopal Sejani, a farm boy who they had adopted after traveling to India in 2015.
Late last year, Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot at the Westminster Magistrates' Court noted there was sufficient evidence to justify extradition as there was a "circumstantial prima facie case that Ms. Dhir and Mr. Raijada acting together and with others committed the offenses."
However, she refused the extradition on human rights grounds as the punishment for the crime, life in prison without parole, was contrary to the couple's human rights under UK law and denied extradition.
The Indian authorities had appealed the ruling, but earlier this week, Lord Justice Dingemans of the Court of Appeal held up Arbuthnot's ruling and said the couple's treatment in India would be "inhuman and degrading treatment" breaching Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The news has not gone down well considering the lengths to which the couple went to execute their crime. Having traveled to Keshod, a town in the western Indian state of Gujarat, to adopt an orphan in October 2015, they had placed an advert in a local paper promising to take the child back to London.
They had been eventually introduced to Gopal, who was, at the time, living with his older sister and her husband Harsukh Kardani. The couple, who were his guardians, agreed to the adoption as they believed he could have a better life in London.
As they prepared his adoption papers, Dhir reportedly took out an insurance policy worth £150,000 ($193,000) in Gopal's name by making two premium payments of $19,300 each, which would have paid out either in 10 years or in the event of the 11-year-old's death.
She and Raijada then returned to London to wait for the 11-year-old, who had remained in Gujarat to wait for his visa papers. He would never make it to the UK.
On February 8, 2017, he was abducted by two men on motorbikes, stabbed, and left to die by a road. Kardani, who was with him at the time, was also attacked when he tried to defend the boy. Both died of their injuries later the same month.
Indian authorities, during their investigation, found the attack was not an isolated incident and that two previous attempts had been made against Gopal's life. They eventually arrested four people in connection to the murders, including Nitish Mund, who was said to be a friend of the Raijada and Dhir and had spent time with them as a student in London.
While both of them denied the six charges brought against them in India, Mund confessed he was recruited to kill Gopal after the two previous unsuccessful attempts had left Raijada "furious." It was also uncovered that the 30-year-old had transferred money to Mund shortly before the murders.
The latest refusal of extradition means the couple will now walk free unless UK authorities decide to pursue charges as the plot to kill Gopal was allegedly hatched from their housing association flat in Hanwell.
There is support for the same from Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who sits on the Commons home affairs select committee, and said, "Do we really want suspected child killers roaming the streets of London?"
"This is an absolutely heinous crime and I think many people would agree there needs to be the harshest of sentences if they are found guilty. It is up to the Indian legal system to decide on the appropriate penalty and we should not be standing in the way of justice being served for the victims."
David Green, of the Civitas democracy think-tank, similarly said, "If this crime had been committed in this country, a whole life sentence may have been a sentencing option so it seems extraordinary and unjust to not assist a friendly, Commonwealth country in securing justice in a case like this."
"If they were to be charged with these offenses in Britain they would be remanded in custody, so it is perverse they are free because of our inability to co-operate with a country like India, with a thoroughly British-style judicial system. The sooner we repeal the Human Rights Act, the better."