Wanted bookie Sanjeev Chawla extradited from UK

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. Photo: PTI

Sanjeev Chawla, an alleged bookie and key accused in one of crickets biggest match-fixing scandals that involved former South African captain Hansie Cronje, 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, accompanied by a Delhi police crime branch team from London, reached Delhi this morning and will now undergo the procedural medical examination, a senior police officer said. After completing the formalities, the crime branch will question Chawla at its RK Puram office, the officer added.

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 After his Indian passport was revoked in 2000, he obtained a British passport five years later.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