Sanjeev Chawla, Accused In 2000 Match-Fixing Scandal, Extradited From UK

Sanjeev Chawla, a 50-year-old British national, was accused of acting as link between former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje and bookies who wanted to fix cricket matches in early 2000.

Sanjeev Chawla is accused of fixing cricket matches in India in 2000.

New Delhi:

Sanjeev Chawla, a bookie accused in a match fixing scandal, has been extradited and brought to India nearly 20 years after the case was filed in 2000. This marks the first high-profile extradition of its kind under the India-UK Extradition Treaty, signed in 1992.

The 50-year-old British national was accused of acting as link between former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje and bookies who wanted to fix cricket matches in early 2000.

Chawla, who was brought to Delhi today, is expected to undergo the required medical examinations before being taken to Tihar Jail and held in custody in accordance with the Indian government's assurances to the UK courts.

Chawla, who was on bail, was taken back into custody by the Met Police in UK before he was handed over to Indian authorities.

Indian officials believe Sanjeev Chawla's extradition will strengthen their case in their efforts to bring back fugitive businessmen Vijay Mallya and Nirva Modi from the UK.

Sanjeev Chawla had taken his appeal against being extradited to India right up to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which rejected his application for an interim measure last week and paved the way for him being put on a flight to India. He lost a last-ditch High Court appeal on human rights grounds against former UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid's extradition order at a hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in London last month, with a court on January 23 setting a 28-day deadline for him to be extradited to India.

Most recently, at an appeal hearing on January 16, a two-member High Court panel said they accepted the assurances provided by the Indian government that Chawla will be accommodated in a cell to be occupied exclusively by him, with proper "safety and security" and complying with the "personal space and hygiene requirements" the court expects.

India had also made further guarantees on medical facilities and protection from intra-prisoner violence in Tihar Jail, where he will be held ahead of his trial.

In March last year, the UK Home Secretary gave the go-ahead for Sanjeev Chawla's extradition after the Westminster Magistrates' Court overruled a previous verdict to rule in favour of such a move.

He is alleged to have played a central role in conspiring with Hansie Cronje to fix a South African tour to India in February-March 2000.

UK court documents describe Sanjeev Chawla as a Delhi-born businessman who moved to the United Kingdom on a business visa in 1996. He obtained a local passport five years after his Indian one was revoked in 2000, and is now a British citizen.

(With inputs from PTI)

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