Judge to decide extradition of Indian man accused of strangling wife - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Judge to decide extradition of Indian man accused of strangling wife

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Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 11:00 pm

A judge will announce in two weeks if Avtar Singh Grewal will be extradited from India back to Phoenix to stand trial for the murder of his estranged wife, Navneet Kaur, in her Ahwatukee Foothills home.

Grewal has been fighting extradition since being arrested in New Delhi in 2007 after Phoenix police say he killed Kaur, then botch his own suicide and then fled to India.

The Times of India reported on Sunday that Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ajay Kumar Pandey will announce his ruling Sept. 30.

Police reports say that 30-year-old Kaur was planning to discuss divorce with Grewal, who lived in Vancouver, Canada, when she picked him up at Sky Harbor International Airport on March 29, 2007.

Her father, Ratan Singh, a retired police superintendent who lives near New Delhi, said that his daughter wanted to stay in Phoenix and apply for U.S. citizenship while Grewal wanted her to quit her job and move with him to Canada.

According to the Phoenix police, evidence found at her home in the 4200 block of East Redwood show the couple quarreled and Grewal strangled Kaur, leaving her face-down in a downstairs bathtub before attempting to commit suicide. Failing that, he left a note behind admitting to killing Kaur before boarding a flight that eventually took him home to India.

Phoenix homicide detectives quickly identified Grewal as someone they wanted to interview, but just missed him in Newark, N.J., where he bought a one-way ticket and boarded a flight to New Delhi.

Indian police arrested Grewal as he exited his flight at India Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi after being alerted by the FBI and Interpol.

But instead of being immediately returned to Phoenix where County Attorney Andrew Thomas had charged him with first degree murder, Grewal has been held in an Indian jail while extradition proceedings continued.

India and the United States have an extradition treaty but experts say that it is time consuming.

In 2008 the Ministry of External Affairs told a New Delhi court there was enough evidence that 33-year-old Grewal killed his wife.

Grewal’s Indian defense attorneys, V.K. Ohri and Akshay Malik, have argued that the governor of Arizona never requested the extradition of their client and that the autopsy report didn’t list a specific reason for Kaur’s death.

 

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