Sanjeev Chawla sent to Tihar, to be lodged in single isolated cellUpdated: Feb 14, 2020 22:04 IST
The Delhi High Court on Friday sent Sanjeev Chawla, an alleged bookie, who is also the main accused in one of cricket’s biggest match-fixing scandals that involved late South Africa captain Hansie Cronje, to Tihar jail.
Chawla, who was extradited to India on Thursday, had challenged an order of the trial court sending him to police custody for 12 days. Justice Anu Malhotra also issued notice to the Centre and sought their stand on the plea by Chawla, where he had contended that he cannot be kept in police custody according to the extradition rules and the undertakings given by the government of India to the UK government while seeking extradition.
Appearing for Chawla, his counsel senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, told the court that the extradition is done only when the investigation is complete, the chargesheet has been filed and cognisance has been taken on the same.
Reading out the communication (letters of assurances) sent by the Indian government requesting extradition, Pahwa said that the government had given undertakings that he would face trial in a court in India. He also highlighted that the authorities has also mentioned that Chawla would be kept in Tihar jail and even the ward number was specified, where he would be lodged.
“The FIR was registered in 2000 and the chargesheet was filed in 2013. The investigation is complete and hence he cannot be kept in police custody. The government of India has violated its own undertakings given to the British government seeking extradition,” Pahwa submitted.
During the hearing, the court also sought to know why Christian Michel, middleman in the AgustaWestland case, was taken into CBI custody even though he was also extradited. To this, Pahwa said that in Michel’s case the chargesheet had not been filed, when he was brought to India.
Following the submissions, the court said that in view of the letters of assurances sent by the Indian government, Chawla be sent to Tihar jail. The matter would be now heard on Tuesday.
CHAWLA TO BE LODGED IN A SINGLE CELL
Jail officers said Chawla will be lodged in a regular ell inside jail number 3. Until late Friday night, Chawla was yet to reach the prison. A prison officer, who did not wish to be named, said that keeping in mind the background of the case,Chawla will be lodged alone in a single cell. He will have access to television and an attached toilet and bathroom inside his cell.The UK-based alleged bookie, who had conspired with Hansie Cronje to fix matches, had earlier told a court in UK during his extradition hearing that he would not be safe in Tihar. Jail officers said Chawla will have to eat prison food and will be allowed to meet his relatives twice a week.
The four convicts of the 2012 Delhi gangrape case are also lodged separately in four different cells inside a high-risk ward of jail 3. The four convicts, however, are kept away from all the other prisoners.