The prime suspect in the murder of a woman on an Australian beach four years ago has been arrested in New Delhi’s outskirts three weeks after he was targeted with a $677,000 reward
By ROD McGUIRK Associated Press
CANBERRA, Australia — The prime suspect in the murder of a woman on an Australian beach four years ago was arrested in New Delhi’s outskirts three weeks after he was targeted with a 1 million Australian dollar ($677,000) reward, authorities said Friday.
Indian national Rajwinder Singh, 38, flew from Sydney to his homeland the day after 24-year-old Australian Toyah Cordingley’s body was found on the Queensland state coast on Oct. 22, 2018.
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.
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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 Nov. 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.
Indian police arrested Singh on the same day they received information about his whereabouts, Australian Federal Police said in a statement.
New Delhi police said in a statement the arrest was made based on intelligence shared by the France-based international policing organization Interpol as well as Australian police.
Singh was arrested at 6 a.m. local time on New Delhi’s outskirts on a highway to his home state of Punjab, Indian police said.
He was expected to appear in a New Delhi court later Friday, police said.
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.
According to Australian police, Singh was “believed to be evading arrest in the Punjab region of India since traveling to the country” in 2018.
In late October and early November, Queensland police officers traveled to India to collaborate with the Australian Federal Police stationed in New Delhi to provide information on Singh to Indian law enforcement.
When Cordingley was murdered on Wangetti Beach, north of Cairns, on October 21, 2018, Singh was working as a nurse in Innisfail, a town south of the major city. She had taken her dog for a walk at the beach.
The Australian Indian Embassy was unable to respond to requests for comment right away.
An extradition agreement between Australia and India has been in effect since 2010, but it can take time to implement.
Australia has been attempting to extradite Indian national Puneet Puneet, 33, for 13 years. Puneet fled Australia after being found guilty of drunk driving and speeding in 2008 when he struck and killed one pedestrian and seriously injured another in downtown Melbourne.