Chawla in­vokes govt’s vow to UK, sent to Ti­har

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

New Delhi: The Delhi high court stepped in on Fri­day to can­cel the po­lice cus­tody of al­leged bookie San­jeev Chawla, re­cently ex­tra­dited from the UK, tak­ing note of his claim that the In­dian gov­ern­ment had as­sured its Bri­tish coun­ter­part he would be kept in Ti­har Jail.

Chawla, a Bri­tish ci­ti­zen who is the key ac­cused in one of cricket’s big­gest match-fix­ing scan­dals that in­volved for­mer South African cap­tain Han­sie Cronje, had been sent to face cus­to­dial in­ter­ro­ga­tion of Delhi Po­lice’s crime branch by a trial court in Delhi on Thurs­day.

Di­rect­ing the po­lice to en­sure that Chawla goes to Ti­har Jail im­me­di­ately, Jus­tice Anu Mal­ho­tra said he would be in ju­di­cial cus­tody till fur­ther or­ders, even as the bench made the home min­istry a party to the case and sought its stand.

Ap­pear­ing for Chawla, se­nior ad­vo­cate Vikas Pahwa said three let­ters of as­sur­ance given by MHA to the United King­dom clearly stated that he had to be ex­tra­dited to face trial in the case, in which po­lice had al­ready filed its chargeshee­t way back in 2013.

The lawyer main­tained that the MHA also as­sured UK gov­ern­ment that Chawla will be kept in Ti­har Jail as an undertrial and later, if found guilty, as a con­vict.

“The po­lice re­mand goes against the as­sur­ances given to the UK. Where is the need for cus­tody when the chargeshee­t has been filed and in­ves­ti­ga­tion is over? This is not the man­date of ex­tra­di­tion pro­ceed­ings which have only al­lowed my client to face trial,” the coun­sel sub­mit­ted be­fore HC. The court said it was es­sen­tial to hear the Cen­tre on the mat­ter as the let­ters of as­sur­ances were is­sued by the MHA.

The pe­ti­tion re­ferred to the

MHA's let­ters dated February 28,

2017, Septem­ber 22, 2017 and June

11, 2018 giv­ing as­sur­ances to the UK gov­ern­ment. “The said as­sur­ances are the sov­er­eign as­sur­ances given by the gov­ern­ment of In­dia and are bind­ing upon the gov­ern­ment and en­forc­ing agen­cies inas­much as the guar­an­tees and as­sur­ances are the ba­sis of ex­tra­di­tion,” it said.

“The In­dian gov­ern­ment had given as­sur­ances which are solemn and sov­er­eign as­sur­ances that at all times, dur­ing pre-trial cus­tody, the pe­ti­tioner would be lodged in Ti­har Jail and there­fore, no po­lice re­mand can be granted,” the plea said.

The trial court on Thurs­day had sent Chawla to 12-day cus­to­dial in­ter­ro­ga­tion by Delhi Po­lice, not­ing the mat­ter was to be probed fur­ther for which he had to be sent to var­i­ous cities across the na­tion.

Since the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer of the case wasn’t present in HC dur­ing the hear­ing that lasted af­ter the of­fi­cial court hours, Jus­tice Anu Mal­ho­tra di­rected the crime branch to file a sta­tus report on the mat­ter while ask­ing MHA too to re­spond by next date of hear­ing on February 19.

EC cited the nine show­cause no­tices is­sued for elections held be­tween July 30, 2010 and June 10, 2012, co­in­cid­ing with Qu­raishi’s term. While five no­tices were is­sued in 2012 UP poll, three in 2011 West Ben­gal poll, two in 2011 Tamil Nadu poll and one in 2010 Bi­har poll. As per fi­nal out­come of these cases, ad­vi­sories were is­sued in five, warn­ing is­sued in two and re­main­ing two cases closed. No di­rec­tions were is­sued to lodge FIR in any of the cases.

No model code of con­duct no­tices were is­sued dur­ing polls in As­sam, Ker­ala, Puducherry, Goa, Ma­nipur and Ut­tarak­hand in the rel­e­vant pe­riod.

Cit­ing the no­tice is­sued to then law min­is­ter Sal­man Khur­shid for an­nounc­ing 9% reser­va­tion for mi­nori­ties within 27% OBC quota dur­ing UP poll, EC re­called that he was sub­se­quently cen­sured. Khur­shid later re­it­er­ated the an­nounce­ment, af­ter which EC wrote to Pres­i­dent seek­ing his in­ter­ven­tion. Khur­shid fi­nally re­gret­ted his state­ments be­fore EC, af­ter which lat­ter de­cided not to take fur­ther ac­tion.

EC also is­sued a no­tice to BSP’s S C Mishra in 2012 for his re­peated ref­er­ences to Dal­itBrah­min po­lit­i­cal com­bi­na­tion. Though Mishra did not re­ply, EC took a le­nient view and merely hoped Mishra would be more care­ful in the fu­ture. An­other no­tice went to for­mer Union min­is­ter Beni Prasad Verma for mak­ing promises to Mus­lims, but af­ter he re­gret­ted the same, EC did not press for fur­ther ac­tion. Even then Union min­is­ter Sri Prakash Jaiswal re­ceived an EC no­tice for threat­en­ing Pres­i­dent’s rule in UP. Jaiswal claimed his state­ment was dis­torted and EC con­cluded there was no threat of in­tim­i­da­tion of votes.

In West Ben­gal poll in 2011, CPM’s Anil Basu had made ob­scene re­marks against Tri­namool chief Ma­mata Ban­er­jee. EC only con­veyed its se­vere dis­plea­sure and warned him to be more care­ful in the fu­ture.

Full report on

San­jeev Chawla

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