NEWARK, N.J.: Giving his judgment in two separate hearings, the U.S. Magistrate, Ronald Hedges ruled that Ranjit Singh Gill and Sukhminder Singh Sandhu could be extradited on the basis of the material produced by the Indian officials to determine “probable cause” for extradition.
The judgment did not surprise anyone as the Magistrate had allegedly left no one in doubt about his mind even before the arguments were concluded. He summarily disposed of Ranjit Singh’s case in less than an hour on Friday and pronounced the judgment just thirty minutes after the completion of the arguments,
Hedges dismissed the plea put forward by the Attorney Mary Pike for giving political refugee status to Mr. Gill saying that he did not have jurisdiction to consider Mr. Gill’s claim for entitlement to a political refugee status.
According to Mary Pike, under the U.N. protocol the decision to determine the refugee status rests with the Magistrate.
Mr. Gill and Mr., Sandhu were arrested on May 14, 1987, from a gas station in New Jersey on the basis of warrants obtained from a California Court by the F.B.I. in pursuance of complaint filed by the Indian authorities. Mr. Gill is wanted in India for an alleged conspiracy to murder Lalit Maken and his wife. Mr. Sandhu is charged with the alleged conspiracy in the assassination of retired Army Chief Gen. A.S. Vaidya who had ordered the army to invade the Golden Temple in June, 1984.
The Magistrate has granted 30 days to both Gill and Sandhu for filing appeals with the Federal District Judge. The case can linger on for years because of the provision that Gill and Sandhu can go in for appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals in case the District Judge upholds the decision of the Magistrate. The case even can go to U.S. Supreme Court for final verdict.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 12, 1988