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Thailand court approves extradition of arms dealer wanted in India

Monday, 31 March 2014 - 5:15pm IST | Place: Bangkok | Agency: PTI

India received a shot in arm today when a Bangkok court approved the extradition of a Thai gun runner to face trial in India for helping sell nearly $2 million of arms to Naga rebels.

India had secured an Interpol Red Corner Notice against 54-year-old Wuthikorn Naruenartwanich alias 'Willy Naru' after Anthony Shimray, one of the accused, alleged that he had paid for an arms consignment which included AK-series rifles for NSCN-IM cadre.

India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) alleged that Shimray had struck a deal with Willy Naru for the arms consignment.

The NIA registered a case on the basis of information that National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Chisi Swu and Thuengaleng Muivah faction (NSCN-IM) had contemplated purchasing huge quantity of arms and ammunitions from abroad since the beginning of 2008.

Wuthikorn is suspected of helping to sell nearly $2 million worth of arms to the insurgent Naga group. He is accused of buying 1,000 rifles and several rocket-propelled grenades to be sold to Naga rebels.

Wuthikorn apparently acted as a liaison for NSCN-IM and had links with a Chinese firm for gun procurement.

Details of the extradition of Wuthikorn would be worked out soon, sources said.

The court said prosecutors had provided evidence that Wuthikorn was the same person wanted by Indian authorities.

The NIA would be soon sending a team to take his custody if the accused, arrested in August last year based on the Interpol warrant, did not move to a higher court to appeal against the order of the Bangkok Criminal court.

India and Thailand have signed an extradition treaty after the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangkok in 2012. The treaty was signed after two decades of negotiations.

NIA has already filed a chargesheet in this case and a trial was under way. Wuthikorn was being tried in absentia so far.

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