It may have gone largely unnoticed amongst South African cricket supporters – or perhaps it is simply not talked about – but the man primarily responsible for luring Hansie Cronje into the lurid world of match-fixing may, finally, be about to get his come-uppance.
Sanjeev Chawla first met the former South African captain in the late 1990s and befriended him with gifts and small payments before the Test and ODI series of 2000. It was during that tour that Delhi Police inadvertently stumbled upon – and recorded – telephone conversations between Chawla and Cronje in which details of match-fixing were discussed. Delhi detectives were believed to be investigating an entirely unrelated series of crimes.
Chawla moved to London soon after the Police made their announcement and the extradition process, as always, has been painful and protracted.
But just a few days ago it was confirmed in London that the UK Crown Prosecution Service had written to the Delhi Police to enquire about the facilities in which Chawla would be kept if and when the extradition hearing rules that he should be returned to India. His hearing is set for October 3.
As painful and disagreeable as many South Africans will find it, Cronje’s misdemeanours and tragic death in 2002 will undoubtedly make news all over again with Chawla forced to give testimony in the event that a corruption trial finally gets under way in Delhi, probably early next year.
In the shadow of the four RamSlam players recently being banned from the game for between seven and 12 years the world’s cricket audience will once again be reminded that match-fixing in cricket is not confined to the subcontinent and, no doubt, the Proteas’ opposition will be reminded to remind them of that fact on the field.
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