Wanted bookie Sanjeev Chawla extradited from UK

It is the first time India has managed to get an accused from cricket gambling underworld sent back for trial. — AFP  File

It is the first time India has managed to get an accused from cricket gambling underworld sent back for trial. — AFP File

Investigations manifest that the Chawla remained in constant touch with the South African captain Hansie Cronje at most of the venues of the matches that were later alleged to be fixed.

He will face charges of match fixing during South Africa's tour of India in 2000.

Meanwhile, Delhi police authorities Thursday brought bookie Chawla to India from the United Kingdom, after legal formalities for his extradition were completed.

"As Chawla had slipped to London, he could not be interrogated and subsequently the CDRs connecting the then Indian cricketers with the global bookie was not pursued", a former commissioner of Delhi police told IANS.

The cricketers' phone numbers are said to have appeared on Chawla's phone records between January and March 2000 - the period he was allegedly involved in match-fixing talks with Cronje. Chawla had allegedly suggested to Cronje that he could make a lot of money if he agreed to lose matches.

As the investigating officer was not present, Justice Anu Malhotra directed the crime branch to file a status report in the matter and said that Chawla be sent to Tihar jail till further orders.

Crime Branch has also gathered documents from Scotland Yard, whose sleuths arrested Chawla in 2001 in another betting scandal involving English players. 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". Chawla had even appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which rejected his plea for an interim measure last week.

The ECHR had sought additional assurances from the British High Commission in New Delhi that Chawla's rights as a British citizen would be upheld, including regular consular access. India also guaranteed medical facilities and protection from intra-prisoner violence at Tihar Jail.

Following an extradition trial in October 2017, Westminster Magistrates' Court in London had concluded that while Chawla had a prima facie case to answer, his human rights could not be guaranteed in Tihar.

After his Indian passport was revoked in 2000, he obtained a British passport five years later.

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