Only weeks prior to fugitive Vijay Mallya’s case management hearing in the United Kingdom, the Westminster Court has rejected India’s extradition plea in two cases, including that involving UK-based alleged bookie Sanjeev Kumar Chawla.
The British officials had written to the Delhi Police to ascertain details about security arrangements and facilities in jail.
Judges at Westminster Magistrates’ Court discharged the case over extreme conditions in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, where Chawla would have been held on being extradited, that were said to lead to human rights violation. On the expert evidence of Dr. Alan Mitchell, a licenced medical practitioner and a former medical officer at a Scottish prison, Chawla’s extradition was rejected on Oct. 16.
“(There are) strong grounds for believing that the RP (Requested Person: Chawla) would be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the Tihar prison complex, due to the overcrowding, lack of medical provision, risk of being subjected to torture and violence either from other inmates or prison staff which is endemic in Tihar,” Judge Rebecca Crane noted in her judgment.
Chawla was arrested in September 2016 in the United Kingdom after India sought his extradition in relation to cricket match-fixing in 2000, involving South Africa captain Hansie Cronje.
In another case, an Indian couple, Jatinder and Asha Rani Angurala, were let go on Oct. 12 after Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot said it would be unjust to extradite them as the fraud was committed almost 25 years ago. Jatinder, who was a branch manager during 1990-93 at Bank of India in Jalandhar, had sanctioned loans to himself, his wife and co-conspirators for £24,000.
He later moved to the United Kingdom with his wife and they run a shop in east London.
“I find I am not sure he is a fugitive and his extradition is barred by reason of passage of time as I find it would be unjust and oppressive to extradite him by reason of the quarter century that has passed since the alleged offence,” Judge Arbuthnot said in reference to Jatinder. “He is aged 69, not in the first flush of youth, he has minor health issues… it is just too late and it would be wrong to extradite him now,” she noted. She rejected the extradition of his wife as well due to the passage of time.
Mallya’s case management hearing is on Nov. 20 to decide the course of the extradition trial, which will begin on Dec. 4.