UK rejects India's extradition request for Sanjeev Chawla
London: A British court currently hearing the extradition case of embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya has rejected two extradition requests by the Indian authorities in recent weeks. Judges at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London ruled in favour of UK-based alleged bookie Sanjeev Kumar Chawla on October 16 and also discharged a fraud case against a British Indian couple, Jatinder and Asha Rani Angurala, on October 12.
The rulings come just weeks before the extradition case against Mallya, wanted in India on loan defaults to several banks amounting to about Rs 9,000-crore, comes up for its next case management hearing on November 20 to determine the course of the extradition trial scheduled to start on December 4.
The case against Chawla, the key accused in the cricket match-fixing scandal involving former South African captain Hanse Cronje in 2000, was discharged by District Judge Rebecca Crane on human rights grounds over severe conditions in Tihar Jail in Delhi where he was to be held on being extradited. The judge said she was satisfied there was a prima facie case against Chawla over his role in the fixing of "cricket matches played between India and South Africa during the tour of the South African Cricket Team to India under the captainship of Hansie Cronje in February-March 2000".
However, on hearing expert evidence from Dr Alan Mitchell, a licenced medical practitioner and a former medical officer at a Scottish prison, she ruled in favour of Chawla on the grounds that his human rights would be violated in Tihar Jail under Section 87, Article 3 relating to "prohibition of torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment".
"[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 the Tihar prison complex, due to the overcrowding, lack of medical provision, risk of being subjected to torture and violence either from other inmates or prison staff which is endemic in Tihar," Judge Crane noted in her judgment.