India should bring to justice NRI couple from UK accused of murdering adopted teen

Maybe India will still sleep well at night if Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi are not sent back from the United Kingdom, despite the 26 year old extradition treaty. After all, the welfare state must protect those who find haven under its canopy and save them from the harsh fates that await them if they are parceled back to their countries. Especially if these individuals are well heeled, in which case the financial comfort zone adds to the harbor.

But Prime Minister Theresa May, we will not sleep well at night if we find that your courtesy extends to protecting and covering for a couple now allegedly accused of having murdered their 13-year-old adopted son (or colluded in the murder) ostensibly to collect Rs 1.2 crores in life insurance which they had invested in him.

Here is where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj can make a major difference and fast track justice. This is a case that deserves her personal and official interference.

The UK-based Gujarati couple Arti Loknath (53) and her husband Kanwaljitsinh Raijada (28) allegedly plotted the murder of 13-year-old Gopal for the insurance policy worth Rs. 1.2 crore ($240,000) which they had bought as a cover for his life.

Sushma Swaraj. PTI

Sushma Swaraj. PTI

This is sick. The recently released movie The Lion (could be the Oscar winner next week) tells the story of the danger for thousands of children on the streets of India and the government's blind refusal to do enough about rampant pedophilia in the nation. If you dither from bringing this couple to justice in either your country or refuse to investigate and interrogate further in this matter to the satisfaction of all of us, then all that stuff about child services that you set to such great orchestral music are worth nothing. All they do is strike a false note. So far the UK has not sent one person back to India, not even mass murderers. So would they send a couple who killed a kid?

The parents of the 13-year-old child who was knifed to death in what is being projected as a planned conspiracy are in your country. Just as much as it is incumbent upon India to demand access and a co-operative investigation in which prima facie evidence can be gathered and assessed it is also incumbent upon the United Kingdom to put a score on the board and fight the good fight for the dead child. This child becomes the symbol of Indian sloth and laziness to the harsh world out there and the British arrogance in never returning one wanted person to India despite requests.

You need to take this seriously. We need to take this seriously. This has to become a milestone in criminal co-operation.

There is another tragic dimension to any foot dragging. I know several people who have adopted children and given them hope and a new life and just to see that is so inspiring. Now, if we let this just slip past and allow things to get lost in the legal labyrinth we will make the already complex adoption process even worse. As it is the subject is soaked in suspicion and frowned upon culturally and if it is being seen to be misused we are robbing these kids of a life.

It requires courage, conviction and great heart to make a child your own. If you have been fortunate enough to witness it perhaps there is nothing more beautiful than a child calling his adopted parents 'mama' and 'daddy'.
When it goes horribly wrong it is incumbent upon all of us regardless of borders to ensure that we all fight for the rights of the child.

The arrested individual has pointed a finger at the London based parents. They must prove their innocence and the police their guilt and this can only happen if the British authorities bring them in.

One can only be afraid that after a preliminary round in which nothing can be proven the issue will die out with young Gopal who never got a chance to live.

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Updated Date: Feb 18, 2017 15:43:52 IST

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