Indian government approaches UK High Court for bookie Chawla's extradition
An appeal opened today in the UK High Court against Westminster Magistrates Court's decision to deny India's extradition request against UK-based alleged bookie Sanjeev Kumar Chawla, a key accused in the cricket match-fixing scandal involving former South African captain Hansie Cronje in 2000. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was arguing on behalf of the Indian government. Here are more details.
Even though, District Judge Rebecca Crane was satisfied that there was a prima facie case against Chawla over his role in match fixing, she had discharged the accused after the hearing on October 16, 2017, on human rights grounds over severe conditions in Delhi's Tihar Jail, where Chawla was to be held on being extradited. The step was taken after hearing medical expert evidence.
"[There are] strong grounds for believing that the RP [Requested Person: Chawla] would be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in Tihar prison complex," Judge Crane said. "This is due to overcrowded jail, lack of medical provision, risk of being subjected to torture and violence either from other inmates or prison staff which is endemic in Tihar," Crane added.
According to court documents, Delhi-born Chawla had moved to UK on a business visa in 1996, where he has been based while making trips back and forth to India. After his Indian passport was revoked in 2000, the 50-year-old obtained a UK passport in 2005 and is now a British citizen. Chawla was introduced to Hansie Cronje between Jan-Feb 2000.
It was suggested to Cronje by Chawla and another person, that he could make significant amounts of money if he agreed to lose cricket matches. The details of the offense were provided in an affidavit by Bhisham Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch (South), Delhi Police, which includes details of the telephonic conversations between the accused persons.
The Indian authorities, through the CPS team, will now have to convince the UK High Court Judges with assurances that Sanjeev Chawla's rights will not be infringed on being extradited to India.