Alleged cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla has lost his last-ditch battle in the UK high court and is all set to be extradited to India to face charges of match-fixing. At the end of the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Lord Justice David Bean and Justice Clive Lewis concluded that they were ‘satisfied that permission to appeal should be refused’.
Under the India-UK Extradition Treaty, the Home Office is expected to formally certify the court order for Chawla to be extradited to India within 28 days. Under exceptional circumstances, there is a possibility of moving the UK Supreme Court on a point of law but barrister Mark Summers, representing the Indian government in the case, said that as a matter of law that avenue is not possible after permission has been denied by the high court.
Chawla’s lawyers had tried to establish that their client has a statutory right to appeal against the District Judge’s order sent to the UK Home Secretary for a sign off. That submission was challenged by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the Indian authorities on the grounds that it is a ‘disguised attempt’ at reopening the entire case. The two-member high court panel decided to consider the matter simultaneously as a criminal procedure application on whether to grant permission to reopen the previous appeal. “Nobody wants this case to go off to another day after all the delay,” said Lord Justice Bean.
At that stage Chawla’s lawyers referred to a series of fresh documents and images to highlight that their client faced a serious risk of injustice and violence in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, where he is set to be held. They also alleged the potential of violence in police custody, given the coercive treatment of some of Chawla’s co-accused in India.