Alleged cricket bookie Sanju Chawla is back on Indian soil after he was extradited from the UK on Thursday.
Chawla is reputed to be one of the men of the centre of the 2000 match-fixing scandal that involved former disgraced South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje.
He had been sought by the Delhi Police who, in 2013, filed charges against him along with a number of co-conspirators, after an exhaustive investigation into the matter, on charges of corruption and cheating,
The other men accused were three Indian-based men – Rajesh Kalra, Kishan Kumar and Sunil Dara – and another man, Manmohan Kumar, whose whereabouts are not known, but is believed to be overseas somewhere, Cronje, who was banned from cricket for life over his involvement in the affair, will not be charged. He was killed in June 2002 in a life aircraft crash, with the circumstances surrounding the accident still unclear.
Chawla, who is now a British national, had evaded the Indian authorities for nearly two decades but, in what is believed to be a first of its kind, he was deported to India under the India – UK Extradition Treaty.
The accusations relate back to South Africa’s tour of India in February and March 2000 in which Cronje was paid money to influence the results of the one-day internationals between the two sides.
Having initially refuted the allegations, Cronje made a full admission before the King Commission the following year and was given his life ban. Two other players who he persuaded to take part in proceedings – batsman Herschelle Gibbs and bowler Henry Williams – were given limited suspensions and fines by the South African Cricket Board. Other players were also implicated in the scandal, but no charges were ever filed against them.
Chawla first moved to the UK in 1996 on a business visa, but continued to make frequent trips back to India, and was in his homeland when the ODI series began, before flying back to the UK in the middle of it.
After his arrival at Delhi airport, he was taken to the offices of the local police for questioning and has been remanded in custody for 12 days. It is expected that he will be taken to five locations, including Mumbai where the matches were held, and confronted with witnesses as to what happened two decades ago.
It is unclear when the trial will take place, but it is certain to shed a spotlight on aspects of cricket in India that some in positions of authority would prefer kept hidden.