The Delhi High Court on Friday put on hold the trial court’s order that allowed a 12-day police custody of Sanjeev Chawla, the key accused in the 2000 cricket match-fixing scandal involving late South African captain Hansie Cronje. The HC sent Chawla to Tihar jail till further notice.
Justice Anu Malhotra directed the Delhi Police Crime Branch, in whose custody Chawla was remanded in Thursday, to lodge him at the Tihar jail “in terms of the said Letters of Assurance of the Ministry of Home Affairs… till further direction of this court”.
It also issued notice to the Home Ministry, to ensure the presence and representation on their behalf on the issue on February 19, the next date of hearing.
Challenging his 12 days of police remand, senior counsel Vikas Pahwa and advocates Vineet Malhotra and Hemant Shah, urged the High Court to set aside a trial court’s order, remanding him to police custody and sent him to Tihar jail, holding his custody to the police as “illegal and unlawful”. Pahwa argued, Chawla is a British National and while seeking extradition, “diplomatic assurances dated 28.02.2017, 22.09.2017 and 11.06.2018 were given by the Government of India to the Governemnt of UK”.
“As per Letter of Assurance of Government of India, the accused has to be kept at Tihar Jail Complex during the pre-trial detention and in the event of prison sentence upon conviction,” the court was told.
“Assurances given by the Government of India are solemn and sovereign,” the counsel argued. Taking note of which, Justice Malhotra directed the counsel for the Delhi police to ensure that Chawla is taken to Tihar jail immediately. His counsel also argued that “the petitioner was extradited only to face trial and not for investigation.”
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