Monday, April 10, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

CBI ‘asked to get’ Cronje
Kalra’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 9 — The Delhi police today sought the help of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the extradition of the South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje and prime accused Sanjay Chawla, in the match-fixing case.

Meanwhile, a Delhi court today extended police remand of businessman, Rajesh Kalra by four days after the police sought his custody for further investigation.

The lone accused to be arrested, Chawla was picked up by the police on charges of cheating and fraud on Thursday night from his Greater Kailash residence.

The prosecution counsel submitted that the case was in the initial stage of investigations and sought further remand.

Further, certain evidence regarding hawala transactions had also been established following Kalra’s interrogation, the police said. “We have informed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) about the hawala dealings.”

The counsel for the ED sought custodial interrogation of Kalra as huge hawala transactions were suspected. Duty Magistrate, Barkha Gupta, who held the proceedings in camera, kept the ED application in abeyance till April 13.

Talking of the Delhi police letter to the CBI, a senior police officer said: “We have written to the CBI to get in touch with Interpol for the extradition of Cronje and Sanjay Chawla.”

The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime, Mr Pradeep Srivastava, however, said: “We have written to the CBI but we have sought some details and not the extradition.”

He said that the police had sent teams to Mumbai, Bangalore and Kochi to gather vital information related to the case based on the disclosures made by the accused bookie and South Delhi businessman, Rajesh Kalra who was arrested on Thursday night.

The police also camped outside Kailash hospital in Noida to interrogate Bollywood actor and one of the partners of Super Cassette Industries, Kishan Kumar.

The police could not question Kishan Kumar, brother of slain music baron, Gulshan Kumar as he is under sedatives at the intensive care unit of a hospital.

Asked how soon Kishan Kumar would be arrested, Mr Pradeep Srivastava said, “We must speak to him first.”

Asked if the hospital authorities were co-operating with the police, Mr Srivastava said: “Most certainly.”

The Chairman and Managing Director of the hospital, Mr Mahesh Sharma, said: “Kishan Kumar is at present in no state to answer questions since he is heavily sedated, but is likely to be moved from the ICU into a normal ward by tomorrow.”

Mr Sharma said: “He has not been interrogated by the police as of now. In fact, there has been a lot of security outside the ICU, but we are not sure whether he has been arrested or not.”

Kishan Kumar was admitted to the hospital on Friday, when he complained of anginal pains.

The police said Kishan Kumar is known to bet heavily on cricket matches and his name came up when the Delhi police interrogated Kalra.

The Delhi police also raided three places in the Capital today following the disclosures made by Kalra, the police said.

While not ruling out the involvement of underworld and Indian players in the case, Mr Srivastava said: “So far we have not come across their involvement in the case.”

Meanwhile, the Delhi police was cautious, while responding to the statement of the South African Government seeking an explanation from the Indian Government for tapping the phones of their players during their recent cricket tour of India.

The Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), Mr K.K. Paul said: “I have to first check the authenticity of the reports quoting South African Foreign Minister Aziz Bahad before commenting on it’’.

Reacting to the manner in which Delhi police handled the alleged match-fixing scandal, Mr Bahad had said yesterday that the South African Government would seek an explanation for reports that players’ telephones were tapped while they were on an official cricket tour of India.

Mr Bahad said the South African government would also seek an explanation from their Indian counterparts “regarding the process by which the allegations against players were made public’’.

On the material evidence collected by the police so far, Mr Paul said: “We have made public the taped telephonic talk between Cronje and Sanjay, alias Sanjeev Chawla, the London-based NRI.

The police questioned the relatives and friends of Sanjay to know his whereabouts.


SA board may be asked to probe
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 9 — The International Cricket Council may ask the South African board to hold an inquiry into match-fixing charges against South African cricket captain, Hansie Cronje and his four team-mates.

Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of the ICC said in a television interview at Dhaka that the council was closely watching the entire situation and was considering various options. ‘‘We have no facts, figures or papers with us. Therefore, we need a couple of days. We will study the papers and see whether we should go ahead and make a parallel inquiry or whether we should ask the South African board to conduct an inquiry or wait for the police to complete their work and co operate with them.’’

Mr Dalmiya said the entire approach should be focussed on finding out the truth and taking appropriate action in case the allegations were true. ‘‘I am not in a position to talk about the quality of charges but if they are substantiated, the issue will not be allowed to be swept under the carpet. We will see the end of it,’’ he said.

The ICC president described the issue as a very ‘‘unfortunate controversy’’ and said that the situation was not good for the image of cricket. He said that the council would study the affect of the police before going ahead with any action. ‘‘With the police coming in, one has to wait and see.’’

A statement released by the United Cricket Board of South Africa quoted Hansie Cronje as dismissing the charges. Cronje reportedly said that he was stunned and that the charges were completely without substance. ‘‘I have been privileged to play for South Africa since 1992 and I want to assure every South African that I have made a 100 per cent effort to win every match that I have played. I would never do anything to let my country down.’’


Tapes not authentic: Pretoria

JOHANNESBURG, April 9 (PTI) — The South African Government has said that the tapes purportedly containing the conversation between captain Hansie Cronje and an Indian bookie allegedly involved in match-fixing during the recent cricket tour of India are not authentic, media reports said.

South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad told the Johannesburg ‘‘Sunday Times’’ daily that his country’s High Commissioner to India Nkoane Mashame had listened to excerpts from the tapes and was convinced the accents were not South African.

Mr Pahad also wanted India to hand over the tapes so that South African Government could carry out its own inquiry.

Indian High Commissioner to South Africa, Mr Harish Bhasin, denied local media reports that he had been contacted by the Pretoria Government in connection with the match-fixing and betting controversy.

‘‘I don’t know where the newspaper got the story from,’’ he told PTI when asked about the Sunday Times report.

‘‘Neither the Foreign Office nor Aziz Pahad contacted me over the issue,’’ he said, adding that the reports were ‘‘absolutely baseless’’.

Cronje, meanwhile, vehemently denied allegations of match-fixing. “I deny speaking to any one of the players on tour and I deny accepting any money from anyone for match fixing. Obviously, I am disappointed that after such a successful tour this had to happen. I know the country is behind me and I have lots of fans rooting for me,” he told the Times at a holiday cottage in the Cape province.

The charges against Cronje and teammates Herschelle Gibbs, Nicky Boje, Pieter Strydom and Henry Williams continued to make big news in South Africa for the second day running.

All the Sunday newspapers in the country today carried the story as front page leads.

“It’s not our Hansie. Both voices on tape are Asian,” a headline in “Sunday Tribune” of Durban read with a story saying the voices on the tape purportedly containing a conversation between Cronje and London-based NRI Sanjeev Chawla, one of the two Indian businessmen named, did not belong to a South African.


Police quizzes Kishan Kumar

NEW DELHI, April 9 (PTI) — The police today briefly interrogated Kishan Kumar, Bollywood actor and younger brother of slain music magnate Gulshan Kumar at a hospital, near here, in connection with the sensational cricket match-fixing scandal.

He was interrogated by Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rishipal at the intensive care unit of the Kailash Hospital at Noida, near here.

“We could only briefly interrogate him as doctors did not allow us to question him in detail saying he was not well,” Rishipal said.

The police has also served a notice on Kishan Kumar asking him to appear before the Crime Branch for questioning tomorrow, he said.

The Assistant Commissioner of the Anti-Extortion Cell, which had unearthed the racket, was accompanied by some officials of the Enforcement Directorate, including H.S. Yadav, M.M. Wani, Rajiv Kumar and K.D. Burman.

The police interrogation follows some alleged disclosures made by Rajesh Kalra, a South Delhi businessman and only accused arrested in connection with the case.


Voice ‘simulated’

NEW DELHI, April 9 (PTI) — Amidst the South African government and media expressing doubts about the authenticity of the tapes allegedly containing skipper Hansie Cronje’s conversation with an Indian bookie, the Delhi Police today said it had not released the audio tapes to anyone so far.

The police statement came after claims by South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad that Pretoria’s High Commissioner in India Nkoane Mashame had listened to the tapes and had said the accents were not South African.

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