New Delhi: Sanjeev Chawla, alleged bookie and key accused in one of cricket’s biggest match-fixing scandals that involved former South African captain Hansie Cronje, was sent on Thursday to 12-day custodial interrogation by a Delhi court, noting the matter was to be probed further for which he has to be to various cities across the nation.
Chawla will be lodged in a separate cell at the Tihar Jail here once he is remanded in judicial custody, officials said on Thursday.
“According to the extradition treaty, all basic facilities will be ensured and consular access provided. Safety and security will be ensured. The inmate will be kept in a separate cell,” Sandeep Goyal, DG (Prisons), said.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sudhir Kumar Sirohi sent Chawla, extradited from the United Kingdom, to 12-day custody after Delhi Police sought his 14-day custodial interrogation.
The court noted that as per September 22, 2017 Letter of Assurance to the UK, the Government of India had assured that the accused would be kept at Tihar jail complex during the pre-trial detention and upon conviction by competent court.
It said however that “the stage of pre trial does not include the stage of investigation and the police custody sought is not against the spirit of the letter of government of India”.
“It is well settled law that police does not require any permission from the court for further investigation and in this matter the places like Cochin, Jamshedpur, Faridabad, Vadodara, Nagpur, Mumbai and Bangalore are to be visited by the police and the matter is to be investigated further. Therefore, in my considered opinion, the police custody of 12 days will suffice the purpose,” the judge said, directing the accused to be produced on February 25.
The court also directed the investigating officer to get the accused medically examined as per law.
Special Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava, said that Chawla, extradited from London on Thursday, 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.
Advocate Vinit Malhotra, representing Chawla, said that he was arrested on a warrant issued by the court here on the basis of which extradition proceedings commenced and bail was granted to the accused in London, “therefore, the period of of 15 days is over from the date of of arrest of the accused in London, accordingly, the accused cannot be granted police custody”.
The charge sheet is also filed against the accused and the police cannot investigate the matter without permission of the court, advocate Rahul Kumar, also representing Chawla, said.
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.