Thursday, April 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

I’m innocent: Kishan Kumar
More arrests likely
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 12 — Breaking his silence for the first time since the multi-million dollar match-fixing case came to limelight, the Bollywood actor, Kishan Kumar, brother of slain music baron Gulshan Kumar, today claimed that he was “innocent” and denied his involvement in the case.

The CBI has contacted Interpol and requested it to track down the prime accused in the case, Sanjay, alias Sanjeev Chawla, the London-based NRI bookie, who allegedly paid huge sums of money to the South African cricketer Hansie Cronje.

“Having friendship is no crime,” Kishan Kumar told a crowded press conference at Kailash Hospital where he is being treated for angina problem since Friday last.

“I know Sanjay for the past 20 years and Rajesh Kalra (the only accused arrested in the case so far) for the past three-four years. Both are my good friends,” he said.

To another question, he said he was not seeking anticipatory bail. “No, there is no such move at present,” he said claiming he was innocent and the truth would be out in the next 10-15 days.

Asked why Kalra had named him in the scandal in his statement to the police, Kishan Kumar said: “I am deeply hurt and worried why Kalra took my name.”

“God has given me enough money. I need not indulge in any such (betting) activities,” he said.

“After the death of my brother (Gulshan Kumar) I am looking after the family business for which I had even left my acting career,” he said adding “I am too busy to indulge in such things.”

Kishan Kumar, who addressed newspersons, within an hour after the Delhi police, Crime Branch, personnel left after a brief questioning.

“We were allowed to interrogate (question) him for a brief period,” the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Rishi Pal, said, adding, “since he was feeling uneasy, we will have to question him in detail again.”

The questioning by Rishi Pal and two other Crime Branch officials lasted about 20 minutes. It was for the first time in five days that Kishan Kumar was questioned in connection with the case.

The Bollywood actor addressed the media for half an hour was seated in a wheelchair. He looked unshaven, exhausted and pale. Doctors did not want to take any chance and had placed the blood pressure/pulse monitor, DC machine and the ECG machine to monitor his condition as he answered the queries of the media.

Dr Mahesh Sharma, Chairman, Kailash Hospital, said” “His condition is stable. He is in a condition to be questioned. However, Kishan Kumar should not be put under undue stress as he is a patient of hypertension.”

Asked about the reported statement to the police by Kalra that he had placed Rs 40 lakh as betting amount, the Bollywood actor said: “I did not put any money in betting.”

Kishan Kumar categorically denied that he had made the payment for Sanjay Chawla’s stay at “Taj Regency” hotel at Kochi. “No. I did not pay Sanjay’s Kochi hotel bill.”

However, Kishan Kumar said whenever Sanjay came to India or he went to London “we arranged for each other’s stay and extended hospitality.”

Kishan Kumar claimed that he had seen Sanjay Chawla last time during the latter’s visit to Mumbai for opening some shops in the metropolis.

Asked if he had any links with the underworld mafia, he said: “No. I do not have any links. But I have been receiving threats from Mumbai-based don Ali Budesh.”

“They (Ali’s men) even opened fire at my shop in Mumbai about four months ago and have been repeatedly threatening me for the past six months. That is why my security has been strengthened,” he said.

He claimed that he and Chawla had not been in touch since the scandal broke out.

PTI Adds: More arrests are likely in the multi-million-dollar match-fixing scandal even as Delhi police today sent more teams to the venues where one-day matches between India and South Africa were played.

Highly-placed sources in the Delhi police today said investigations so far revealed involvement of some more bookies and punters in the scandal.

Some more arrests are likely to take place soon, the sources said.

The crime branch, which had sent a team last weekend to Mumbai, has rushed another team to investigate any possible underworld connection to the scandal, which has rocked the cricketing world across the globe, the sources said.

They said the police was trying to probe the source of huge amount of money that was involved in the scandal.

Kalra, who was grilled throughout the night, will be produced before a Delhi court tomorrow following the expiry of a four-day extended police custody.

The sources said that Kalra’s role was more than that of a punter rather than a bookie in the case.

All the tapped conversation allegedly between Cronje and Chawla had been sealed and would be opened in the court after the investigation of the case was completed.

Senior police officials said so far there was no involvement of any Indian cricketer in the scandal.Back


Pretoria to hold judicial probe

DURBAN, April 12 (PTI) — Any decision on the extradition of sacked cricketer Hansie Cronje will be taken by South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki as the country prepared to set up a judicial inquiry to go into the match-fixing scandal.

Quoting Foreign Ministry sources, the Sowetan newspaper said any decision on extradition of Cronje to India, where the police had filed a case against him and three other players on match-fixing charges, was now upto the President.

A Sports Ministry official said in Cape Town that a judicial commission of inquiry would be appointed into the scandal surrounding Cronje “as soon as possible”.

Graham Abrahams, spokesman for Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour, said the minister would meet officials of the South African Cricket Board tomorrow to discuss terms of reference for the probe.

As there was confusion over Cronje’s admission to the board about receipt of up to $ 15,000 for providing information and forecast on matches and the Indian police charges, UCB boss Ali Bacher was quoted in a radio talk-show dismissing Cronje’s denial that he had not taken any financial benefits.

“It’s not true,” AFP quoted Bacher as saying adding Cronje’s wife had counted the notes.

In Calcutta, International Cricket Council expressed grave concern over the match-fixing scandal and its president Jagmohan Dalmiya sought a meeting with BCCI chief A.C. Muthiah on April 18.

Mr Dalmiya had announced that the world body would initiate action on the basis of the Delhi police investigation and the separate inquiry to be launched by the South African Board (UCB).

Muthiah warned that any Indian cricketer found guilty of betting or match-fixing will face a ban for life and said the BCCI could even reopen the Chandrachud report on match-fixing.

LONDON, (Reuters): Sanjeev Chawla denied any wrongdoing today and said he had not even met disgraced former South African captain Hansie Cronje.

Cronje was sacked as captain after he admitted taking between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000 from a bookmaker for information and forecast on one-day games. He denied he was involved in match-fixing. Chawla, 32, who is based here, issued a statement through his lawyer, Neil O’May, after he was named in several media reports.

“Mr Chawla vehemently and categorically denies any involvement in allegations of match-rigging,’’ the statement said.

“He denies that he has met the South African cricketer Hansie Cronje and denies speaking to him at any time on the telephone as has been reported from New Delhi.”


Advani: Chandrachud panel report not to be
made public

INDORE, April 12 (PTI) — Home Minister L K Advani today ruled out making public the Justice Chandrachud Committee report on betting and match-fixing.

Answering to reporters’ questions on the issue, he said former Supreme Court Justice Y V Chandrachud had already said he would not like the issue to be revived. “At the moment I can not say. There is no such proposal (for making it public),” he said.

The minister appreciated the Delhi Police for its good work in the match-fixing episode saying it had not committed any mistake. “The police has done a right thing and not committed any mistake in the case and the fear that it had acted in a hurried manner does not stand scrutiny following Cronje’s admission on the issue”, Mr Advani said.Back

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