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Match fixing: Sanjeev Chawla extradited from UK, sent to 12-day police custody

Match fixing: Sanjeev Chawla extradited from UK, sent to 12-day police custody

NEW DELHI: a Delhi court on Thursday sent Sanjeev Chawla, an alleged bookie and key accused in one of cricket's biggest match-fixing scandals that involved former South African captain Hansie Cronje, to 12-day police custody.

Sanjeev Chawla, a bookie accused in a match-fixing scandal, has been extradited from UK and brought to India nearly 20 years after the case was filed in 2000. This marks the first high-profile extradition of its kind under the India-UK Extradition Treaty signed in 1992. He was brought to Delhi by the Crime branch team under the supervision of DCP Ram Gopal Naik and was taken to court. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sudhir Kumar Sirohi sent Chawla to 12-day custody after Delhi Police sought his 14-day custodial interrogation.

The court noted that as per September 22, 2017 Letter of Assurance to the UK, the Government of India had assured that the accused would be kept at Tihar jail complex during the pre-trial detention and upon conviction by competent court.

It said however that "the stage of pre trial does not include the stage of investigation and the police custody sought is not against the spirit of the letter of government of India".

"It is well settled law that police does not require any permission from the court for further investigation and in this matter the places like Cochin, Jamshedpur, Faridabad, Vadodara, Nagpur, Mumbai and Bangalore are to be visited by the police and the matter is to be investigated further. Therefore, in my considered opinion, the police custody of 12 days will suffice the purpose," the judge said, directing the accused to be produced on February 25.

The 50-year-old British national was accused of acting as link between former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje and bookies who wanted to fix cricket matches in early 2000.

Cronje, who died in a plane crash in 2002, was also involved, police told the court. There were a total of six accused against whom the charge-sheet was filed, 3 had been arrested whereas one is still absconding, Sanjeev has now been extradited and Cronje has died.

Chawla had taken his appeal against being extradited to India right up to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which rejected his application for an interim measure last week and paved the way for him being put on a flight to India. He lost a last-ditch High Court appeal on human rights grounds against former UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid's extradition order at a hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in London last month, with a court on January 23 setting a 28-day deadline for him to be extradited to India.

"We will interrogate him in detail. This is the first time he has joined the investigation and it would not be possible for us to elaborate on details right now," said DCP Crime, Ram Gopal Naik.

UK court documents describe Sanjeev Chawla as a Delhi-born businessman who moved to the United Kingdom on a business visa in 1996. He obtained a local passport five years after his Indian one was revoked in 2000, and is now a British citizen.

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