Bookie Sanjeev Chawla, who is an accused in the 2000 cricket match-fixing scandal, was extradited from London and brought to New Delhi on Thursday, PTI reported. He will face charges of match fixing during South Africa’s tour of India in 2000.
A court in Delhi sent him to 12-day police custody, ANI reported. The Delhi Police had sought 14-day custodial interrogation and told the court that Chawla has to be taken to several places to unearth the larger conspiracy.
This is India’s first successful extradition since a treaty for such action was signed with the United Kingdom in 1992, according to Hindustan Times. In 2016, Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, who was wanted in a case related to the 2002 Gujarat riots, had voluntarily agreed to be extradited.
Chawla is alleged to have played a central role in conspiring with Hansie Cronje, the late South African cricket team captain, to fix matches during South Africa’s tour to India in February-March 2000. Chawla had allegedly suggested to Cronje that he could make a lot of money if he agreed to lose matches. Both Chawla and Cronje were named in a 70-page chargesheet filed by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police, according to reports. Chawla has also been accused of trying to bribe two England players in August 1999.
According to court records, India sought Chawla’s extradition due to his alleged criminal conduct between January and March 2000. India made the extradition request on February 1, 2016, which was certified by the Home Secretary on March 11, 2016. The relevant order to extradite him within 28 days was passed on January 23.
His case was initially heard by the Westminster Magistrates Court and later by the UK High Court. Chawla had even appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which rejected his plea for an interim measure last week.
In India, he will be lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. During a hearing on January 16, the Indian government assured the UK High Court that Chawla will be accommodated in a separate cell with proper “safety and security”. His cell will comply with the “personal space and hygiene requirements” of the court, reported NDTV. India also guaranteed medical facilities and protection from intra-prisoner violence at Tihar Jail.
According to the court documents filed by Chawla in the UK High Court, he is a Delhi-born businessman. He moved to the UK on a business visa in 1996. In 2000, his Indian passport was revoked. He was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK in 2003. In 2005, he got UK passport and has since been a British citizen.
Indian officials believe Chawla’s extradition will strengthen their case in their efforts to bring back fugitive businessmen Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi from the UK. Mallya owes Indian banks more than Rs 9,000 crore. The businessman fled India and moved to London in March 2016. India submitted an extradition request to the United Kingdom in February 2017. Modi, who fled India in January 2018, is wanted for allegedly duping the Punjab National Bank of over Rs 13,000 crore.