The Delhi High Court on Thursday allowed Delhi Police to interrogate bookie Sanjeev Chawla at Tihar jail only and that too only till February 28, in connection with the 2000 cricket match-fixing scandal involving late South Africa captain Hansie Cronje.
Modifying the trial court’s February 13 order, remanding Chawla to 12 days of police custody, Justice Anu Malhotra said, “.order of the trial court, granting police custody remand of 12 days of the petitioner, is modified to the effect that the petitioner during the entire stage of pre-trial detention, trial and conviction, if any, would continue to be lodged at the Tihar Jail complex”.
The court observed that in adherance with the terms of the Letter of Assurances given by the Indian government to its UK counterpart, Chawla “cannot be allowed to be taken out of the Tihar Jail complex for the purpose of investigation or interrogation in police custody, though the investigating agency in the matter is permitted to conduct the interrogation of the petitioner at the Tihar Jail complex only”.
“.which period would thus end on February 28, 2020 at 2 am, whereafter no further interrogation of the petitioner in relation to the FIR. can be granted nor is granted,” it added.
The High Court, in its 76-page order, noted that the investigating agency may resort to video conferencing as submitted by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the home ministry, for conducting the investigation and interrogation.
“The investigating agency shall, however, take care to ensure that the petitioner is treated with dignity during the investigation and interrogation conducted,” it said, adding that the Tihar jail superintendent shall adhere to the Letter of Assurances issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs “in letter and spirit”.
The order came after senior counsel Vikas Pahwa and advocates Vineet Malhotra and Hemant Shah, appearing for Chawla, approached the Delhi High Court appealing against the trial court’s February 13 order remanding him to 12 days of police remand. The High Court, however, in its interim order the next day, had cancelled the trial court’s remand order and sent Chawla to judicial custody at Tihar, till its further order.
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