Sanjeev Chawla (wearing mask) leaves the Patiala House court in New Delhi, 13 February 2020. (Photo: Twitter/@indiatvnews

A Delhi court Thursday sent Sanjeev Chawla, an alleged bookie and key accused in one of cricket’s biggest match-fixing scandals that involved former South African captain Hansie Cronje, to 12-day police custody.

Chawla was extradited from the UK on Thursday, Delhi Police said, marking the first high-profile extradition of its kind between the two countries.

The 50-year-old British national, reached Delhi from London, accompanied by a Delhi police crime branch team.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sudhir Kumar Sirohi sent Chawla to 12-day custody after Delhi Police sought his 14-day custodial interrogation.

The police told the court that Chawla was involved in fixing of five matches and has to be taken to various places and confronted with certain people in order to unearth the larger conspiracy.

Cronje, who died in a plane crash in 2002, was also involved, police told the court.

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

The British court documents say Chawla is a Delhi-born businessman who moved to the United Kingdom on a business visa in 1996, but continued to make trips to India.

After his Indian passport was revoked in 2000, he obtained a British passport five years later.

Chawla’s extradition is the first high-profile extradition of its kind under the India-UK Extradition Treaty, signed in 1992.

He took his appeal against the extradition right up to the European Court of Human Rights, which rejected his application last week. Chawla lost a last-ditch appeal against former UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s extradition order in London last month.

He had sought to argue against his extradition to India on human rights grounds in the UK courts ever since his arrest in June 2016.

Most recently, on January 16, a two-member court panel said they accepted the assurances provided by India that Chawla would 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 has also made  guarantees on medical facilities and protection from intra-prisoner violence in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, where he is to be held ahead of his trial.


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