Never gave assurance to UK authorities of no further probe
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court was informed by the home ministry on Wednesday it never gave any assurance to the UK authorities that no further investigation will be carried out in the case related to Sanjeev Chawla, alleged bookie and key accused in one of cricket's biggest match-fixing scandals that involved former South African captain Hansie Cronje. The court was informed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that for the purpose of a fair trial, Chawla, who was recently extradited from the UK, has to be confronted with the evidence gathered against him to "unearth the conspiracy and identify the other persons involved".
Justice Anu Malhotra, after hearing the arguments of the MHA counsel and Chawla, reserved the order on Chawla's plea challenging his 12-day custodial remand in the case and said that the decision will be pronounced on Thursday.
Chawla got an interim relief from custodial interrogation on February 14 when the high court had sent him to Tihar Jail till further orders.
A trial court had on February 13, sent Chawla to 12-day custodial interrogation by Delhi Police, noting that the matter was to be probed further for which he has to be taken to various cities across the nation. He has challenged the custodial remand order in the high court.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for MHA, submitted that Chawla will remain in Tihar jail and his questioning by the probe agency will be done there itself.
The counsel for Delhi Police Crime Branch, which filed a status report in the matter, said they were adopting the submissions made by the ASG.
He said if the need arises to take Chawla out for investigation, they will seek the court's permission. "We will abide by the assurances given by the Indian government to the UK authorities. We are ready to use the facility of video conferencing to quiz him from Tihar Jail with a person based outside Delhi," the ASG said.
He said neither the MHA nor Delhi Police gave any such assurance to the UK authorities that no further investigation will be carried out in the case.
He said Chawla has not been brought for a picnic in Tihar jail, he has been brought here to be confronted with the evidence collected in the case.
Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, representing Chawla, said the probe agency has already investigated the offence of conspiracy against him.
He said the request for extradition sent by the Indian government clearly suggested that the investigation has attained finality and the presence of the accused was required only for the trial.
He contended that any order passed by the court in the matter will have wide ramifications and far reaching consequences and it will have a bearing on other cases internationally.