Impressed with Make in India, Lucknow based businessman gets detained in Albania over drug trafficking case: Family claims ‘victim of misplaced identity’

A 31-year-old Lucknow-based businessman has been detained in Albania over suspicion of drug trafficking. While the businessman’s family, identified as Nitin Mishra, claimed that it was a misplaced identity and that he was visiting Albania for a business trip, Albanian authorities have stated that they have arrested Nitin in coordination with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. 

What’s the case?

A report published in Albanian Daily News on October 15 stated that the arrest of an Indian by that name in Rinas, 20km from Tirana, was based on two red-corner notices and as many as warrants issued against Nitin by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. “‘He was declared on an international search for the criminal work of trafficking in narcotics, carried out in the form of the criminal group’, the newspaper quoted the Albanian police.

Meanwhile, Mr Vivek Rai, lawyer of the family in Lucknow, told The Quotes that Albania authorities had breached the Vienna Convention treaty as they didn’t inform the Indian consulate/authorities.

“Since consular access is an inalienable right. He has been illegally detained in Albania, violating human rights. When Nitin talked to the family, he informed his family that he would be extradited to the United States, due to which we are also raising our voice at the European Court of Human Rights,” Mr Rai told The Quotes. The advocate further informed us that M.E.A. has formally listed the issue on its app, taking cognizance of T.O.I. reports. “It’s the first step towards government intervention in the case. We have got a formal mail from M.E.A. in which they have registered our case of release and repatriation of Nitin Mishra, who is detained in Albania in connection with a drug case,” Mr Rai said. 

U.K. minister to Albanian Prime Minister

Meanwhile, Mr Keith Vazagain, a former U.K. minister and member of parliament, has also raised the matter with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. The excerpts of the letter, which is in access of The Quotes, read-: 

“Mr Harjot Singh has contacted me, the Solicitor acting on behalf of the family of the above-named, who I understand is currently in detention in Albania. I am informed by the Solicitor that this is a case of “mistaken identity” and that this particular man is not the same man who is required by the U.S. authorities. There is now a warrant for his removal from Albania to the United States of America,” read the excerpts of the letter.

“I would appreciate you confirming that consular access can be given to him and what steps can be taken to assist him. I have not met either him or his family, but the information I have received has come from a very well-respected lawyer in the United Kingdom. So I look forward to hearing from you,” the letter mentioned.

Family’s letter to PM Modi

Nitin’s family in Lucknow has also written a letter to the Prime Minister of India wherein they requested quick intervention, assistance with urgent protection and consular support for Nitin in Albania.

“We seek urgent protection and consular support for our client’s son, who is an Indian citizen and is illegally detained in Albania. He is being threatened with extradition to the United States of America without following any process of law. We request urgent intervention by the Government of India so our client’s son can be released whilst being detained illegally in Albania. We request the Albanian government to follow the due process of law and respect international treaties,” read the excerpts of the letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

International Prisoners Transfer Program

In a letter to Mr. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India has cited the International Prisoners Transfer Program claiming that the transfer program is intended to facilitate the rehabilitation of the transferred offenders and relieve some of the administration and diplomatic issues that arise with the incarceration of foreign nationals.

“The International Prisoner Transfer Program began in 1977 after Congress passed enabling legislation (18 U.S.C. SS4100-411S) and the Federal Government negotiated the first in a series of treaties to permit the transfer of prisoners from countries in which they had been convicted and sentenced of crimes to their home countries. After the transfer, the home or receiving country assumes responsibility for administering the transferred sentence.”

“The transfer program is intended to facilitate the rehabilitation of the transferred offenders and to relieve some of the administration and diplomatic issues that arise with the incarceration of foreign nationals. In addition to foreign national prisoners in federal custody and Americans sentenced abroad, foreign national prisoners in state custody are also eligible to participate in the program,” read the letter.  

Inspired by Make in India:

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the family has informed that they are a simple middle-class Brahmin family in Lucknow. The family claimed that Nitin is highly impressed with Make in India due to which he decided to start his own business.

“He decided to visit Albania to secure a few orders to export clothing. He planned to return after securing those orders and start a manufacturing unit in Lucknow to export the clothes to Albania. My client’s son received a proposal wherein certain clients in Albania were interested in Indian fabrics. Hence, my client decided to visit Tirana (Albania) on a tourist visa on 12″ October 2022 via Dubai to explore this option to start his new business,” read the letter.

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Nitin landed in Tirana on 12″ October, wherein on his arrival at the Rinas Airport; he was shockingly arrested by the Joint Investigative Unit consisting of the Regional Security Office/office of criminal investigations and Albanian Special Police Unit known as “Joint Shield'” in cooperation and coordination with the American Law Enforcement Agency D.E.A. The said operation was carried out to extradite the arrested person to the U.S it was a trap set by both governments to allure my client’s son into Albania and wrongfully arrest him. 

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