New Delhi, Nov 14;
The Delhi High Court Friday dismissed a plea of Catholic priest Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, accused of molesting a child in the US, against his extradition.
Justice Pratibha Rani dismissed his plea, saying she has not found any fault in the decision of the trial court.
The trial court said a prima facie case was made out for his extradition.
The high court ruling said: “I am unable to find any fault either with the decision making process or with the view taken by the extradition magistrate…”
If extradited, Jeyapaul will stand trial on charge of first degree criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in jail.
The priest, a fugitive from US law, has been charged with molesting a 14-year-old girl in the US in 2004 when he was at a pastoral ministry at Roseau county.
The priest allegedly met the girl at a youth conference in 2004 and abused her for nearly a year till he left for India Aug 28, 2005. He then maintained a low profile.
In December 2006, the teenage victim filed a criminal complaint accusing him of sexual assault.
In 2010, Archbishop of Madras Mylapore A.M. Chinnappa asked Jeyapaul to return to the US to face the charges.
On Feb 1, 2011, the US embassy in New Delhi sent a diplomatic note to the external affairs ministry requesting extradition of Jeyapaul claiming he was wanted to stand trial.
The ministry approached the trial court to determine whether a prima facie case existed for Jeyapaul’s extradition.
Jeyapaul was arrested March 16, 2012 in Erode district in Tamil Nadu and has since been lodged in New Delhi’s Tihar Central Jail.