Observing that “liberty being precious to human life, bail once granted ought not to be lightly cancelled”, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Sanjeev Chawla, key accused within the 2000 cricket match-fixing scandal involving late South African captain Hansie Cronje. Chawla had already walked out of jail on May 4, since there was no keep on the operation of the trial court docket’s April 30 order, grating him bail.
Justice Asha Menon dismissed the enchantment of the Delhi authorities, below whose administration Tihar jail comes, towards the trial court docket’s order, by which Chawla was ordered to be launched from jail on furnishing a private bail bond of Rs two lakh with two sureties of the identical quantity.
“The State has not succeeded in making out a case for cancellation of bail of the respondent/accused (Chawla),” the court docket stated, including that “in an aside, this case brings to the fore the need for investigative agencies and the government to consider the use of advances in technology to track under-trials in cases of this nature where the State may fear that an accused may flee from trial”.
“Digital and electronic equipment, as presently used in America, ought to be introduced in India, so that a tracking system similar to the GPS Tracking System can be used to monitor the movement of the accused released on bail, allowing the authorities to gather information all the time while permitting the accused to undertake the usual and ordinary activities of normal life,” Justice Menon instructed in her 26-page order.
The order added that, within the absence of such techniques in India, the trial court docket has adopted the subsequent greatest course out there, by directing Chawla to maintain a cell phone operational always.
“Apart from the brother of respondent/accused (Chawla), who has additionally been directed by the Additional Sessions Judge (of trial court docket) to maintain his cell phone operational always, this court docket directs that each the sureties, who’ve furnished the surety bonds, shall additionally furnish the small print of their cell phones to the SHO/IO and preserve their cell phones operational always.
“Further, Chawla shall make a call to the IO/SHO once a day and shall not leave Delhi except with the permission of the trial court…. Chawla shall not leave the country till the trial is concluded, which the State shall endeavour to expedite,” it stated.
Justice Menon additionally stated that the “State would be entitled to alert all exit/transit points accordingly, to ensure that there is no attempt by the respondent/accused to leave the country.”
On Saturday, the High Court had reserved its order on Delhi Police’s enchantment towards the trial court docket’s choice to grant bail on the bottom that Chawla is a British nationwide and it took 20 years to carry him to India, including that there was probability of him fleeing from justice.
Senior counsel Vikas Pahwa and advocate Jagjit Nanda, nevertheless, had opposed the police’s declare earlier than the excessive court docket, saying the accused is in judicial custody since February 12 and had spent 76 days in jail. As per the police, Chawla and Cronje had been named within the chargesheet filed on July 23, 2013 by the Crime Branch for ‘fixing matches played between India and South Africa from February 16, 2000 to March 20, 2000 in India’.
The case is pending trial earlier than the court docket and the subsequent listening to is on May 14. The match-fixing scandal broke in April 2000, when Delhi Police intercepted a dialog between Chawla and Cronje, during which it was learnt that the latter had accepted cash to lose matches. Chawla has additionally been accused of providing cash to 2 England gamers in August 1999.
While releasing Chawla on bail, the excessive court docket additionally famous that “out of the remaining four accused persons, three were arrested in the year 2000 when the FIR was registered.”
“Till date, admittedly, not even the cost has been framed towards any one in all them. The different three accused individuals have been on bail for the reason that 12 months 2000 and 20 years later, they proceed to stay on bail with no trial in sight.
“Even today, the petitioner/State (Delhi police) submits that the investigations are still going on and the voice sample and specimen of handwriting of respondent/accused is also to be gathered. The trial scenario being so stark, liberty of a person cannot be left in limbo only on account of the belief of the State that the respondent/accused is a flight risk,” it stated.
The order additional noticed that “merely because Chawla has been given special facilities in the Tihar Jail would be no reason to deny him the benefit of the Covid-19 guidelines and for this purpose, for an offence under Section 420 of the IPC, it would be improper to differentiate between an Indian and a foreign citizen.”
© The Indian Express (P) Ltd