India gave three assurances which will pave way for extradition of suspected cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla
The Hush Post|2:10 pm| 2-min-read
Britain High Court on Friday upheld India’s appeal against a lower court October 2017 judgement which had blocked the extradition of suspected cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla. The court ruled that “there will be no real risk” to him in Tihar Jail, where he will be lodged, if extradited.
Chawla is wanted in India for prosecution for his role in fixing cricket matches between India and South Africa in February-March 2000. He has been accused of acting as a conduit between Hansie Cronje, then captain of the South African test cricket team, and bookies. Cronje has since been banned for life.
Chawla’s is among several Indian extradition cases pending with the British government. These include the high-profile case of suspected financial offender Vijay Mallya. He is out on bail until December 10. The judgement is due in the same Westminster magistrates court. Improved paperwork and responsiveness of Indian authorities helped them win the case in the high court.
Chawla’s case involved the home ministry submitting three sovereign assurances to the courts on the conditions in which he would be lodged in Tihar. His extradition was blocked by lower court judge Rebecca Crane of the Westminster magistrates court. She had raised concerns on the ground of a risk to his human rights in Tihar. India had appealed against the order of the district judge in the high court on April 24, 2018.
Three assurances that won case for India
In its second asurance, India provided more details and guarantees of his personal safety and facilities in jail.
The judgement was delivered after the high court received the third assurance. It dealt with facilities such as personal space, medical attention and toilet.
Justice Leggatt and justice Dingemans said, “The terms of the third assurance (which was not before the district judge) are sufficient to show that there will be no real risk that Mr Chawla will be subjected to impermissible treatment in Tihar prisons”.
The case will go back to the district judge Rebecca Crane now. The High Court has direct the district judge to proceed “as if the district judge had not ordered Mr Chawla’s discharge”.
Chawla’s defence had raised four issues to block extradition: passage of time, human rights, prison conditions and right to family life. Crane had dismissed all objections except the risk to his human rights in Tihar based on reports by NGOs, expert evidence, press reports and Indian court rulings.
However, India submitted further details and guarantees in the third assurance to the high court.
According to court documents, Chawla was born in New Delhi in 1967 and lived in India until 1996. He moved to the UK on a business visa. He has been in the UK since then. His Indian passport was revoked in 2000. He was granted permanent UK residency in 2003 and obtained a UK passport in 2005.