Sports

Match fixing: UK court gives nod to extradite Sanjeev Chawla

Vidya Ram London | Updated on January 07, 2019 Published on January 07, 2019

Representational image   -  Reuters

India secured another legal victory in the UK as a judge at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has said that the extradition of alleged bookie Sanjeev Chawla can proceed and has referred the case to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid for a final decision.

The development, secured at a procedural hearing on Monday before District Judge Rebecca Crane complies with a previous ruling by the High Court in London last year, which overturned the Westminster Magistrate Court’s earlier ruling that had discharged him on the basis of concerns around conditions at Tihar Jail.

It comes a month after the Chief Magistrate at Westminster Magistrates’ Court had ordered the extradition of Vijay Mallya, also referring it to the Home Secretary for a final decision.

The Home Secretary will now have two months, from the time the case is passed to him from the court, to decide whether or not Chawla can be extradited.

Under the extradition procedure, Javid has to consider matters such as whether there was a possibility of the death penalty being applied or extradition to a third country (neither of which factors would apply in the Chawla case).

Should the extradition be ordered, Chawla will have two weeks to lodge an application to appeal to the High Court.

In case this appeal is unsuccessful, a further attempt to appeal to the Supreme Court can be made (though this would only happen if the Supreme Court granted appeal to do so).

In November, the High Court quashed the lower court’s ruling following an appeal by the Crown Prosecution Service acting on behalf of India.

Contrary to Crane’s initial ruling, Lord Justice Leggatt and Justice Dingemans at the Royal Courts of Justice High Court concluded that new assurances provided by India meant that there was “no real risk that Mr. Chawla will be subjected to impermissible treatment in Tihar prisons.”

In October 2017, Crane had ordered Chawla’s discharge despite there being a prima facie case against him in the match-fixing scandal in early 2000, because of conditions at Tihar prison in New Delhi, which led her to conclude there was a risk of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights being contravened.

The article states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

In a May judgment, the High Court judges also ruled of the risk of Article 3 contravention, but said India should have the chance to offer assurances relating to the personal space for Chawla, toilet and medical facilities and also how India will ensure he was free from the risk of intra-prisoner violence in high security wards.

In June, the Indian government provided further assurances, including that Chawla will be accommodated only in a single cell with proper safety and security and not within a high security ward, and will house inmates with “satisfactory conduct.”

There were also reassurances around medical provisions, provided that the court saw as a “sufficient assurance.”

In their final judgement, the High Court judges noted India’s “solemn diplomatic assurance” around four specific cells that Chawla would be held in.

Chawla stands accused by India in the 2000 cricket match-fixing scandal involving 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 to March of that year.

According to previous court documents, Chawla was introduced to Cronje in January or February 2000.

India said that he suggested to Cronje that “he could make significant amounts of money if he agreed to lose cricket matches.”

After money was paid before the trip, Cronje and others conspired to “fix cricket matches in exchange for payment”, with Chawla playing a “central role, including direct contact with Hansie Cronje,” according to the court documents.

Chawla was first arrested in June 2016, since when he has remained on bail. He remains on bail for now.

 

Published on January 07, 2019
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