The new Australian government has been in contact with officials in India about the extradition of fugitive Puneet Puneet, who admitted killing a Melbourne teenager while speeding but fled the country before sentencing.
The news comes amid reports Puneet was granted bail in India despite prosecutors labelling him a flight risk.
Puneet admitted his driving caused the death of student Dean Hofstee and seriously injured his friend Clancy Coker after travelling 150km/h with a blood alcohol level of 0.165.
He fled to India on a friend’s passport in 2009 while awaiting sentencing in Australia.
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Puneet was arrested four years later, on his wedding day, and a series of extradition hearings have been taking place in a New Delhi court since then.
He later disappeared before resurfacing in the middle of 2020 and being taken into custody in September 2021.
The 33-year-old won a bail bid earlier this month after arguing he was the sole person able to care for his mother with a lung disease, according to multiple media reports.
Cabinet minister Bill Shorten on Tuesday said the Australian government was continuing to push for Puneet’s extradition.
“He should come back and face justice here,” he told the Nine Network.
Mr Shorten added he was grateful the Indian government was backing Australia in its extradition bid, saying Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus confirmed New Delhi had been helpful in pursuing the matter.
“The only way an extradition matter can succeed is through the Indian authorities pursuing it – they are pursuing it,” he said.
“I distinguish the courts from the Indian government. It was the High Court in Delhi that gave him bail, that’s different to the government.
“I’m grateful that the Indian government is backing us in this matter. I think the Indian government’s got its teeth into this issue.”
Mr Shorten added he felt no sympathy for Puneet, who has argued he would be discriminated against in Australia.
“The jail is full of people who feel they’ve been discriminated again, it’s called justice,” he said.
Puneet is due back in court on October 17.