Cordingley death suspect faces court in India –

The Indian prosecutor handling the case of a man accused of killing 24-year-old Australian Toyah Cordingley on a Queensland beach in 2018 says authorities will pursue extradition proceedings against him with “maximum speed”.

Delhi police arrested Rajwinder Singh, an Australian citizen of Indian origin, on the outskirts of the national capital last Friday after the Queensland government earlier this month announced a record $1 million reward for his capture.

Singh, who was remanded in custody for five days, was due to appear in a Delhi court on Wednesday for a hearing on Australia’s request to extradite him to stand trial for Cordingley’s murder.


“It is a heinous crime,” Ajay Digpaul, the government’s prosecution counsel, told AAP on Tuesday.

“We will seek to ensure that this case proceeds at full speed,” he said.

Australian police suspect Singh stabbed Cordingley on Wangetti Beach, north of Cairns, while she was taking her dog for a morning walk.

Singh boarded a flight to India, leaving his wife and three children behind, a day after Cordingley was reported missing.

Cordingley’s father found the body of his daughter, who worked in a pharmacy, half buried in the sand.

The dog was tied to a tree unharmed.


According to a local Indian media report, Singh told Delhi police that he got into an argument with Cordingley because her dog was barking at him.

The prosecution is “very focused on this case,” Digpaul said.

But Singh “will have the right to appeal,” he added.

Legal experts have expressed concern that Singh’s extradition process could take years as India’s justice system moves slowly with millions of pending cases.

Australia has sought Singh’s extradition to stand trial for the murder in March 2021.

But Singh, who was clean-shaven when in Australia, grew a beard and donned a turban in India to disguise himself and constantly changed locations to avoid arrest.

After announcing the reward along with a WhatsApp contact number, Australian police said they had received a number of tips from India about Singh’s whereabouts.

Delhi police said they arrested Singh using information from local investigators, Australian police and Interpol.

Digpaul said “all the case papers and the extradition request have been submitted to the court” and the accused’s lawyers now have the documents.

India approved Australia’s extradition request last month.

The prosecutor said Singh would hear charges that he had “committed an offense of murder” in Australia and could last “several days”.

Singh’s lawyer “will have the right to cross-examine,” Digpaul added.

Singh – who is being held in Tihar Jail, South Asia’s largest prison – will have the right to appeal to the Delhi High Court if the magistrate rules against him.

“We will make every effort to ensure that the matter is brought to an end as quickly as possible,” Digpaul said.

© AAP 2022

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