New Delhi: Sanjeev Chawla, alleged bookie and key accused in one of the cricket's biggest match-fixing scandals that involved former South African captain Hansie Cronje, sought bail in a Delhi court on Monday citing imminent threat of coronavirus pandemic in the jail that is "not hygienic".
Chawla, extradited from the United Kingdom last month, also alleged in his bail plea that he was receiving life threats inside Tihar jail from various persons and inmates have made extortion demands from him.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Purshottam Pathak directed the police to file its reply on the plea by April 26.
"Chawla was a British National and the conditions in the jail were not hygienic and there was a threat of Coronavirus there and therefore, in view of the eminent threat of epidemic Coronavirus in the jail as well, the applicant prays that he be released on bail," the plea said.
The plea, filed through advocate Vinit Malhotra, claimed that it was the admitted case in the FIR that the entire allegation against him was hearsay and there was no material/witness to substantiate it.
"In the absence of any such material on record, the custody of the applicant (Chawla) will cause irreparable harm and injury to his personal liberty. The tape recordings which are relied upon are wholly illegal and inadmissible and have no legal validity. Even otherwise, it does not relate to him," it claimed.
The bail petition said that Cronje, the main accused in the case, has died and there was no chance of any conviction in the matter. All other accused in the case, who were arrested, have already been granted bail, it said.
The court was informed earlier that Chawla was involved in fixing of five matches. Cronje, who died in a plane crash in 2002, was also involved, police had told the court.
Chawla is alleged to have played a central role in conspiring with Cronje to fix a South African tour to India in February-March 2000.
The British court documents say Chawla is a Delhi-born businessman who moved to the United Kingdom on a business visa in 1996, but continued to make trips to India.