Suspected cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla’s extradition set for February
Suspected cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla is due to be extradited to India by the end of February after the high court of England and Wales refused him permission to appeal against his extradition to face charges of match-fixing during South Africa’s tour in 2000.
It will be India’s first successful extradition since the treaty was signed with the UK in 1992. The only previous instance of extradition was voluntary: Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, who was wanted in a case related to the 2002 Gujarat riots, agreed to be extradited in October 2016.
Chawla was refused permission to appeal during a hearing on January 16 and the relevant order to extradite him within 28 days was passed on January 23. The period in which he needs to be extradited under the Extradition Act 2003 will end in late February.
After some formalities are completed by Indian authorities, a team of Delhi police is expected to arrive here to escort him to India, where he is listed to be lodged in the Tihar Jail. New Delhi submitted three sovereign assurances to court about his safety in the jail.
There appeared to be no further options for Chawla to block extradition. Approaching the Supreme Court is unlikely since the case does not involve a matter of public interest. But there is also the case of Tiger Hanif, who is yet to extradited after losing in courts.
Hanif, who is wanted in connection with blasts in Surat in 1993, lost the last of legal challenges in 2013, but has since made ‘representations’ on his case to the home secretary, who has not yet taken a decision on whether to finally order his extradition or not.
According to court records, India sought Chawla’s extradition due to his alleged criminal conduct between January and March 2000. It was discovered when law enforcement agencies undertook telephone tapping in an unrelated investigation.
“The telephone tapping is alleged to have revealed plans to fix the outcome of forthcoming cricket matches between the touring South African and the Indian test cricket teams. The agreements allegedly reached included the number of runs that would not be exceeded by the South African team in both of their innings in a particular match”, the records state.
The conduct was contrary to the Indian Penal Code and would amount to a conspiracy to agree or give corrupt payments in England and Wales, satisfying the requirement that the offence for which a person is sought is an offence in both countries.
Delhi-born Chawla moved to the UK in 1996. India made the extradition request on February 1, 2016 and it certified by the Home secretary March 11, 2016. His case was initially heard by the Westminster magistrates court and later by the high court.
Chawla’s Indian passport was revoked in 2000. He was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK in 2003 and obtained a UK passport in 2005.