Delhi court sends Sanjeev Chawla to 12 days police custody

Elias Hubbard
February 14, 2020

The Delhi Police Crime Branch will bring bookie Sanjeev Chawla to India on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, a top-placed source in Delhi Police told IANS.

Nearly two decades after one of the biggest match-fixing scandals in cricket came to light, Delhi Police on Wednesday got custody of bookie Sanjeev Chawla, the key accused in the 2000 case involving late South African captain Hansie Cronje, after completing legal formalities for his extradition.

During investigation it was revealed that several players from India, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa were in touch with Chawla and many visited bookie's restaurant, East is East, located at 230, Commercial Road London EI 2NB.

Following an extradition trial in October 2017, Westminster Magistrates' Court in London had concluded that while Chawla had a prima facie case to answer, his human rights could not be guaranteed in Tihar.

It said there is "sufficient evidence" to prove that the accused had entered into a conspiracy to fix matches played here between India and South Africa in February-March 2000.

Advocate Vinit Malhotra, representing Chawla, said that he was arrested on a warrant issued by the court here on the basis of which extradition proceedings commenced and bail was granted to the accused in London, "therefore, the period of of 15 days is over from the date of of arrest of the accused in London, accordingly, the accused can not be granted police custody".

Inspector Keshav Mathur, who had filed the chargesheet in July 2013, was shortlisted by senior Delhi Police officers along with Naik and they were sent to attend all the court hearings.

He, wrongly, believed that India's interest in him had ceased after Cronje was killed in a plane crash in 2002 aged 32.

According to documents presented to the court, Chawla was introduced to Cronje in 2000, following which Chawla suggested that Cronje lose matches in order to make money, for the impending tour in March 2000.

It was prompted after England all-rounder Chris Lewis alleged he had been offered a £300,000 bribe to England players at an Old Trafford Test against New Zealand in August 1999.

As soon as Delhi Police filed the FIR in the first week of March 2000, Chawla moved to the UK. Chawla had even appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which rejected his plea for an interim measure last week. He had gone there for the first time on a business visa in 1996, but his Indian passport was revoked in 2000, and he obtained a British passport in 2005. This was done after Chawla raised several questions about security and facilities in Indian jails.

Chawla's removal to India was the first high-profile extradition of its kind under the India-UK Extradition Treaty which was signed in 1992. "In one such meeting, they also called complainant ACP Ishwar Singh, who had intercepted the phone calls".

Chawla was named in the King Commission report into Cronje's activities and also in the Indian CBI report, which linked him directly to Manoj Prabhakar, a former pace bowler who was banned for five years for his part in match fixing.

The Indian Express is now on Telegram.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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