Chawla invokes govt’s vow to UK, sent to Tihar
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 www.toi.in