UK court to formalise cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla’s extradition

In a legal victory for India, the high court had ruled that conditions in the Tihar Jail in Delhi did not pose any “real risk” to Chawla’s human rights, which was the only ground on which the magistrates court had blocked his extradition in October 2017.
A UK court is set to formalise the extradition of cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla to India to face charges of match-fixing during South Africa’s India tour in 2000 (Representative Photo)(AFP)
A UK court is set to formalise the extradition of cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla to India to face charges of match-fixing during South Africa’s India tour in 2000 (Representative Photo)(AFP)
Updated on Jan 07, 2019 07:00 AM IST
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The Westminster magistrates court is due on Monday to revise its earlier ruling and recommend to the home secretary that no bars exist to cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla’s extradition to India following the November 2018 judgement of the high court.

In a legal victory for India, the high court had ruled that conditions in the Tihar Jail in Delhi did not pose any “real risk” to Chawla’s human rights, which was the only ground on which the magistrates court had blocked his extradition in October 2017.

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service, which acts on behalf of India in extradition cases, said: “Following the High Court ruling, the case has to be sent back to the district judge at Westminster magistrates’ court who discharged it.”

“That is listed on January 7 and that district judge will quash the earlier order for discharge and substitute the decision of the High Court. It will then be sent to the Home Secretary”.

“If after considering the case, the Home Secretary thinks extradition should go ahead, he has to order the extradition within two months of the date the matter was referred to him”.

“Whatever that decision, the losing side has up to 14 days within which to approach the High Court and seek leave to appeal. Any appeal – if granted – will be heard at the Administrative Court (High Court)”.

By ruling that Chawla faced “no real risk” in the Tihar Jail, the high court removed the only bar to his extradition to face charges of match-fixing during South Africa’s tour of India in 2000.

The lower court was otherwise satisfied that there is a prima facie case for him to answer on the basis of evidence gathered by the Delhi police.

It dismissed his objections to extradition on the ground of ‘passage of time’ (over 15 years elapsed since the alleged crime in India) and ‘right to family life’ (he has been living in the UK with his family since 1996 with wife and two sons). A significant aspect of the October 2017 ruling of the magistrates court was the mention of the quality of evidence submitted by Indian authorities.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Prasun Sonwalkar was Editor (UK & Europe), Hindustan Times. During more than three decades, he held senior positions on the Desk, besides reporting from India’s north-east and other states, including a decade covering politics from New Delhi. He has been reporting from UK and Europe since 1999.

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