New Delhi: A 38-year-old man, who had been absconding since 2018 after allegedly killing an Australian woman in Queensland, was arrested by Delhi Police’s Special Cell on Friday.
Recently, the Australian police had declared a million dollar reward for any information leading to his arrest.
The accused, identified as Rajwinder Singh from Buttar Kalan, Punjab, used to work as a nurse in Innisfail, Queensland.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said Singh had been arrested on Friday following Australia’s extradition request to India.
“This matter is a high priority for the Australian government and Australian agencies continue to work closely with Indian authorities to pursue Mr. Singh’s extradition to Australia, to enable him to face justice,” Dreyfus said.
Dreyfus said it was not appropriate for him to comment further because the matter was before the Indian courts.
Australia had applied for Singh’s extradition for murder in March last year but he could not be found.
The Queensland government on November 3 offered the largest reward in the state’s history for information about Singh.
The reward was unique in that it did not seek a clue that solves a crime and leads to a successful prosecution. Instead, the money is offered for information that leads only to a suspect’s location and arrest.
On November 4, via twitter, the Australian High Commission had declared a reward of one million Australian dollars on the arrest of Singh, an Indian-origin Australian citizen, who had committed the gruesome murder of an Australian woman on October 21, 2018 in Queensland and had been absconding ever since, said police.
The 24 year-old Toyah Cordingley was walking her dog on Wangetti Beach, 40 km north of Cairns in Queensland, when Singh killed her.
According to a senior police official, Interpol had also issued Red Corner Notice (RCN), regarding the said accused and the CBI/Interpol, New Delhi had also issued a non-bailable warrant, under the Extradition Act, against his name from the Patiala House Court on November 21, 2022.
“On November 25, at around 6am specific inputs were shared by CBI/Interpol and Australian counterparts following which in an intelligence-based operation, the accused was apprehended by the team of Special Cell from near GT Karnal Road,” said the official.
“The accused is being produced before the concerned court as per law for further proceedings,” the official added.
Singh had fled the country two days after Cordingley was killed, leaving behind his job, wife and three children in Australia.
As per Australian police, the day after Cordingley was murdered, Singh departed Cairns on October 22, and then flew from Sydney to India on the October 23. His arrival in India was confirmed by the authorities.
India’s external affairs ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on extradition proceedings.
It is not clear whether the reward would be collected.
Singh was “believed to be avoiding apprehension in the Punjab region in India since traveling to the country” in 2018, Australian police said.
Queensland police officers had traveled to India in late October and early November to work with Australian Federal Police posted in New Delhi to share information on Singh with Indian law enforcement.
Australia and India have had an bilateral extradition treaty in place since 2010, but the process can be slow.
For 13 years, Australia has been pursuing the extradition of Indian national Puneet Puneet, 33, who fled Australia after he was convicted of drunk driving and speeding when he hit and killed one pedestrian and injured another in downtown Melbourne in 2008.