An extradition request for a Dubai-born fugitive called one of the most wanted men in Britain will be submitted to a court in India in the next few days, British government sources say.
Mohammed Ali Ege, whom prosecutors claim ordered an attack last year on a man in Cardiff who owed him money, fled Britain when the drugged-up hitmen he had allegedly hired went to the wrong house and fatally stabbed 17-year-old schoolboy Aamir Siddiqi.
Indian detectives in Hyderabad tracked down and arrested Mr Ege, 33, last month in a rented house in the Banjara Hills, where he was living on a fake Indian passport and under a variety of assumed names.
In an interview with The National, Inspector General Sattaru Umapathi, head of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) for the state of Andhra Pradesh, expressed frustration this week that formal extradition papers had yet to be received from the British authorities more than a month after Mr Ege's arrest and 19 months after he fled the UK.
"Unless papers for his extraction are received soon, the court could have no option under Indian law but to free him on bail after 60 days," Mr Umapathi said.
"I am very concerned about this. My request to the British authorities is to make it fast. The papers have to be received by the court or this man might have to be freed."
UK officials in both London and Delhi could not explain the delay but, after repeated requests for information, a spokeswoman for the Home Office finally confirmed that "a full extradition request will be sent to India shortly".
There appear to be no plans, however, to try to extradite Mr Ege's brother Nassor, who was also arrested on October 15 and who Mr Umapathi described as "the brains" behind a suspected crime gang and "much more dangerous [than his brother] as far as we are concerned".
A team of four CID detectives in Hyderabad - birthplace of the brothers' mother - are now investigating a suspected drugs smuggling link in trips the Eges made to Thailand, Laos, Gambia and Malaysia after Mohammed obtained a false passport in the name Abdul Malik nine months ago.
Mohammed Ali Ege, who was born in Dubai while his father, who has UK citizenship, was working there, was suspected of drugs dealing in Cardiff, where he had spent most of his adult life. He was a familiar figure there, driving around in his Porsche Cayenne and Audi TT.
"We know a lot about Mohammed Ali Ege. We know where he lived, we know what cars he drove, and we know what car his girlfriend drives," prosecutor Patrick Harrington told the opening of the trial in September of the two men whom Mr Ege allegedly hired to attack the man who owed him £50,000 from a property deal but who ended up killing Aamir. The teen had answered the door of the family home in April 2010, thinking it was his Quran teacher.
Mr Ege "spent lavishly and almost all in cash. What we don't know is where he is. We know he's not at home," Mr Harrington said.
After Aamir's killing, Mr Ege - wearing a wig to cover his shaven head - fled to France on a cross-Channel ferry, according to Indian police. He then travelled to Spain and crossed into Morocco, again by ferry. He then flew to Senegal and on to Bahrain, where he obtained some Indian documentation, before moving on to Kathmandu, joining his brother in India some time later.
Meanwhile, in Britain, police named Mr Ege as a suspect wanted on a charge of conspiracy to murder. Two nationwide TV appeals have been made to try to find him over the past year and a Facebook campaign started in a bid to track him down.
CID officers say it was Nassor, who is also a British citizen but has a valid Indian visa, who arranged for his brother to obtain a variety of India documents, including a false birth certificate, which enabled him to obtain an Indian passport.
The two brothers also opened a string of bank accounts in Hyderabad, Nassor using such names as Abdul Kareem and Abdul Razak Khalifa, while Mohammed went by Abdul Jabbar and Mohammed Abdul Kareem, as well as Abdul Malik.
The trial in Cardiff of Ben Hope, 38, and Jason Richards, 37, who are accused of killing Aamir after being paid £1,000 each by Mr Ege, was stopped for several days last month before the jury was informed of the arrest in India. The trial is now expected to last another month.