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Danish smuggler insists on ‘neutral ground’ hearing

A Danish smuggler who air-dropped weapons into India has offered to be heard by an Indian court – but only on neutral ground, he told a Danish newspaper on Wednesday.

Niels Holck told the daily Politiken about the offer two days after New Delhi renewed its efforts to get him extradited.

He had initially told the Indian authorities that he was ready to be questioned, he told the paper, ‘and most recently to let an Indian court hear the case against me on neutral ground.’

Holck has admitted that in 1995 he dropped four tonnes of arms into West Bengal to help local villagers in their fight against the government. He was working with five Russians and a British national.

Their plane was intercepted by the Indian air force on its return but the Dane, unlike other members of the crew, managed to escape.

Since then, the affair has been a stumbling block in Danish-Indian relations.

Danish police arrested Holck in 2010 after the justice ministry decided to support New Delhi’s extradition request.

But he successfully appealed that decision in the courts, on the grounds that he might be subjected to ill treatment.

‘I am ready to pack my bags [to visit India], if that can help,’ Danish Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal told Politiken.

‘This conflict is inopportune for both Denmark and India, and I will do whatever I can to resolve it,’ he added.

He made no comment on Holck’s proposal.
AFP

AFP

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