In a final judgement passed on 20th February, 2020, the Delhi High Court has ruled against the petitioner - Sanjeev Chawla, an alleged cricket bookie who was involved in one of the biggest match fixing scandals. The petitioner had challenged the magistrate's order dated February 13, 2020 wherein he had challenged his 12 days police custody in connection with the match fixing case. He argued that the police had already filed a charge sheet against him for offences under various sections of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) - S. 420 - Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property and 120B - Punishment of criminal conspiracy. It was further alleged that cognizance of the same was taken on 23rd June, 2013. Another point highlighted was that in the charge sheet there was no mention of further investigation and no leave till date has been sought from the Court for further investigation.
The Delhi High Court has allowed the Delhi Police to interrogate Sanjeev Chawla in Tihar Jail. The Single judge bench of Justice Anu Malhotra has allowed the Delhi police to interrogate him only till February 28th. Post the interrogation his arrest period of 12 days will conclude. "Investigating agency in the matter is permitted to conduct the interrogation of the petitioner (Chawla) at the Tihar Jail complex only in the terms of the timeline stipulated in terms of Section 167(2) of the CrPC"
Further directions given by the court include his continuance in the jail till the trial concludes, in accordance with the assurances given by the Indian government to its counterpart in the United Kingdom. The court has further ordered the police to treat Chawla with dignity during the course of interrogation and investigation. Furthermore, the state has been directed to comply with the letter of assurances sent by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the UK government.
The court highlighted : "The investigation agency may utilise the technology of video conference as submitted by the ASG for conducting the investigation and interrogation to the extent as prayed on the application of the state dated February 13th submitted before the trial court. As regards any follow up action required for the investigation and interrogation to the extent permitted herein above, the state may seek the permission of the trial court seized of the matter"
Extradition proceedings had to be carried to ensure his presence in India. During the proceedings, British courts were informed by the Indian authorities that the investigation against him is complete and charge sheet has been filed as well.
The petitioner had highlighted these letters too dated: 28th February, 2017 to 22nd September, 2017. In these letters, the Union Government had given assurances stating that the petitioner during the detention in pre and post trial conviction will be kept at Tihar Jail.
Additional Solicitor General - Sanjay Jain who is appearing on behalf of the Delhi police informed the court that the Ministry of Home Affairs never gave an assurance to the UK Government. In light of a fair trial, Chawla has to be confronted with the evidence gathered against him to unveil the conspiracy and identify the others involved in the case.
Author - Dyuti Pandya