It's the sheer rarity of the situation that makes the flight of Kranthi Akula so intriguing.

It's the sheer rarity of the situation that makes the flight of Kranthi Akula so intriguing.


"I don't recall in memory a Peoria County case where international flight has occurred to avoid prosecution following criminal charges," said Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons, nearly a week after Akula, 27, of Peoria Heights fled the country for India.


He was arrested June 23, jailed and then charged the next day with four counts of deceptive practice for allegedly defrauding business partners and others out of more than $50,000. Bond was set at $50,000, meaning he had to post only $5,000 to get out of jail.


As a condition of his bond, Akula was to turn in his passport, but he was allowed to leave the jail without doing so. The Peoria County Sheriff's Department, which oversees the jail, says it did nothing wrong. Peoria Heights Police Chief Dustin Sutton, whose department was supposed to receive the passport, agrees.


Lyons' office had sought the unusual request for just this reason - to make sure Akula couldn't flee the country.


"We have, on occasion, asked for passport restrictions on some bonds. However, the most prevalent worries here usually involve persons seeking refuge in a contiguous country, such as Mexico or Canada," Lyons said.


This time, however, something didn't go right.


"In seeing the court's order, it is apparent that turning in the passport was to be a condition of the defendant's release," Lyons said. "It was expected that Akula's passport would not be on his person at the time of arrest and, therefore, Peoria Heights police was the named locale where Akula could've instructed another to deliver the passport in order to secure his release when he posted a money bond.


"This condition was omitted from the bond sheet, which is prepared by the sheriff's office and the condition was, for unknown reasons, not required at the jail prior to the defendant's release," he said.


According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the United States has an extradition treaty with India. However, there are no set parameters on how the process works. According to the Department of Justice, it is its Office of International Affairs that makes the formal request for extradition.


"Neither prosecutors nor agents are permitted to contact their foreign counterparts to request the arrest of a fugitive for extradition. Unauthorized requests cause serious diplomatic difficulties and may subject the requester to financial liability or other sanctions," according to a document found at the Department of Justice's Web site.


Lyons has said he hasn't decided whether to extradite Akula, given that his office still doesn't know the full extant of what happened.


"The full facts in Akula's business dealings are likely not yet known, so I'm unable to offer thoughts yet on issues involving possible pursuit or remedies," he said.


 Andy Kravetz can be reached at (309) 686-3283 or akravetz@pjstar.com.