The extradition from India of a man accused of killing his estranged wife in her Ahwatukee Foothills home continues to muddle its way through the Indian court system.
The latest twist came when attorneys for Avtar Singh Grewal, 34, argued that because he faces the possibility of the death penalty, he shouldn’t be turned over to U.S. authorities, according to reports by the Press Trust of India.
India has a death penalty, although rarely used. But Canada, where Grewal had been living doesn’t, which complicated the issue.
The judges ordered the attorneys to submit case law supporting their motion.
Grewal has been in custody in New Delhi since walking off an airplane March 31, 2007.
His wife, 30-year-old Navneet Kaur, was found by Phoenix police the day before in her home in the 4200 block of East Redwood Lane after a co-worker became concerned when she didn’t appear at work that day.
Official reports say that Kaur was planning to discuss divorce with Grewal, who lived in Vancouver, Canada, when she picked him up at Sky Harbor International Airport on March 29, 2007.
According to evidence found at the scene, the couple quarreled and Grewal strangled his wife, leaving her face down in a downstairs bathtub before attempting to commit suicide. Failing that, he left a note behind admitting to killing Kaur before boarding a flight that eventually took him home to India.
Phoenix homicide detectives quickly identified Grewal as someone they wanted to interview, but just missed him in Newark, N.J., where he bought a one-way ticket and boarded a flight to New Delhi.
Indian police arrested Grewal as he exited his flight at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, after being alerted by the FBI.
But instead of being returned to Phoenix, where County Attorney Andrew Thomas charged him with first-degree murder, Grewal continues to sit in an Indian jail while extradition proceedings are under way.
India and the United States have an extradition treaty, but experts say that it is a time-consuming process.