Thursday, April 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Centre favours probe
Match fixing rocks Houses
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 19 — The government today remained non-committal on ordering a probe by the CBI into the allegations of match fixing, but maintained that it favoured a proper investigation into the issue, including the possible involvement of Indians in the betting scandal.

The issue figured in both Houses of Parliament today with several members, cutting across party lines, demanding a CBI probe into the scandal.

The members also sought that the report of the Chandrachud Committee on match fixing be made public, which was agreed to by the government.

Responding to the members’ contention in the Lok Sabha during zero hour, the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K.Advani, said the match-fixing issue had acquired not only national but international dimensions and the Sports Ministry was looking into it.

He said it was for the Sports Ministry to decide whether a CBI probe should be ordered or not and maintained that the investigating agency was not under him.

While maintaining that he favoured a proper investigation into the issue, Mr Advani said he had no objection to the report of the Chandrachud Committee being made public.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan, assured the House that the Sports Minister Mr S.S.Dhindsa would make a statement on the issue tomorrow. The government was not against a calling attention motion on the subject, he said.

Raising the issue during zero hour, Congress member, Kamal Nath said several agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate and the Delhi Police, were probing the allegations but investigations were required into charges of FERA violation and criminal nexus between bookies and drug barons.

He said the CBI should probe the issue and pending its completion, the government should take over the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) temporarily. The game lovers and the public in general were confused about the stories coming from different sources.

Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra of the BJP supported the demand for an inquiry by the CBI into the scandal but opposed the plea that the government should take over the BCCI. This move would not be in the interest of the game, he said.

Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha, Congress member Suresh Kalmadi in a special mention demanded that there should be a thorough and impartial inquiry by the CBI into the betting scandal.

Describing the Chandrachud Committee report as a “whitewash”, Mr Kalmadi spoke about the various aspects of the issue, including its money-spinning potential and its “deleterious” influence on the youth of the country.

He said the Hansie Cronje affair was only the tip of the iceberg of the scam which ran deep. He quoted the South African Cricket Board official, Mr Ali Bacher as having said the Indian subcontinent was a “hotbed of match-fixing and betting”.

Congratulating the Delhi Police for exposing the Cronje affair, Mr Kalmadi said the CBI inquiry should be held in concert with the Interpol as the scandal had global ramifications.

He said the game of cricket had grown in its commercial potential and the amount involved by way of match-fixing and betting in each one-day cricket match was anywhere between Rs 500 crore and Rs 1000 crore.

He said one dayers had brought in betting and match fixing and compared to just 12 one-day matches played five years ago, India played 43 matches last year. This year alone the country had played 20 one-day matches till date.

He felt the CBI probe should not only look into the role of the players and bookies but also that of cricket officials.

Agencies add: Minister of State for Sports Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa will make a statement in Parliament on alleged match fixing involving cricketers and others on Thursday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan said.

The information came during zero hour in the Lok Sabha following a demand by Mr Kamal Nath (Cong) for an inquiry by the CBI.


Kishan Kumar moves HC
From Our Correspondent

NEW DELHI, April 19 — Bollywood actor and one of the suspects in match-fixing case, Kishan Kumar, today moved the Delhi High Court for quashing of the FIR lodged by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police against him.

However, a division bench comprising Justices Usha Mehra and S.N. Kapoor, adjourned the case till April 25 asking Kishan Kumar’s counsel R.K. Anand to show rulings whether it could interfere in the case at the stage of investigation.

Kishan Kumar is at present in Tihar Jail for violation of FERA provisions in the match-fixing case. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate alleging that he had played an active role in the case.

Mr R.K. Anand submitted that his client, who was arrested by the ED, was being harassed without any basis and that he would submit rulings by the Supreme Court providing for intervention at the stage of investigation where one’s liberty was at stake without any basis.

Kishan Kumar was arrested by the ED on April 14 on the basis of the statement of Rajesh Kalra, the only accused interrogated by the crime branch of the Delhi Police and ED officials in the match-fixing case in which the captain of South African cricket team, Hansie Cronje, is allegedly involved.

A Delhi court, meanwhile, sent Rajesh Kalra to Tihar Jail from Rammanohar Lohia hospital where he was admitted on April 17 after he complained of chest pain.

Kalra was arrested by the Delhi Police from his residence at Greater Kailash-II on April 7. He was interrogated by the police till April 13. Later he was taken on remand by the Enforcement Directorate.

He was on remand with the ED till April 18 but was sent to judicial custody after an application moved by the ED as he was suffering from chest pain and could not be interrogated.

The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Ms Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, passed this order today after a report of Kalra’s health was submitted before the court by the Medical Superintendent of Rammanohar Lohia Hospital.

The medical report stated that Kalra, who suffered from chest pain had recovered. “He is fit to be discharged from the hospital”.

He appeared personally before the court as ordered by the ACMM yesterday. The counsel of the hospital, Mr Pradeep Gaur told the court the medical report was submitted yesterday before the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Manoj Jain.

Kalra’s counsel Vineet Malhotra moved an application for his bail which will be argued on April 25, the order said.

The Delhi Police moved an application opposing the bail application of Rajesh Kalra.

In a related development, the police today released a photograph of Sanjeev Chawla, the prime accused in the betting. The London-based NRI bookie owns a readymade garment shop there. He had fled the country a few days before the case was made public by the police.


Dalmiya in ‘grip of mafia’

NEW DELHI, April 19 (UNI) — Adding a new dimension to the match-fixing controversy plaguing the cricketing world, former BCCI chief I S Bindra today claimed every international team and its players indulged in this malpractice in some form or the other and blamed players and administrators for bringing disrepute to the game.

During his emotional outbursts at a press conference, Bindra, who is also the President of the Punjab Cricket Association, alleged that ICC President Jagmohan Dalmiya was under the “grip of mafias and sharks”.

He even went to the extent of saying that “virtually every match in international cricket is fixed in one form or the other. Match-fixing or betting is as old as the game itself.

“I am convinced that players of every single team which is playing international cricket are involved in match-fixing or betting in some way or the other.’’

“Hansie (Cronje) is a small fish. There are still many sharks. I am privy to certain information to which even Dalmiya doesn’t have access... he (Dalmiya) is in the total grip of mafia and sharks,’’ Bindra claimed.

For him, sacked South African captain Hansie Cronje had emerged as the biggest hero whose confession, he said, will save the game.

In the same vein, Bindra said if Dalmiya makes a ‘confession’ like Hansie did, “he will be a greater hero.”

“I am privy to certain informations to which even Dalmiya doesn’t have access... he (Dalmiya) is in the total grip of mafia and sharks,’’ Bindra claimed.

At the outset, Bindra said he was upset at not being invited to the meeting of the top brass of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) held in Calcutta yesterday where Dalmiya was also present. He said as the PCA President he was entitled to be called for the meeting which was convened to take stock of the situation arising out of the recent match-fixing scandal involving South African skipper Hansie Cronje and three of his teammates.

To a pointed question whether cricket board officials in India or abroad were also involved, the former BCCI President did not come up with a direct answer. “I am ready to take names, but the responsibility for a defamation will be yours,’’ he told the journalist.

In a two-page statement, Bindra said, “during my presidency of Indian board... I did come to know that malpractices were on. I made my best efforts at every possible level to effectively arrest and check misdoing by players, officials and administrators who have today discredited the game and the boards.’’

The statement said: “The credibility of the boards of several countries are in mire and is slushed in total distrust for their failure to effectively curb the grievous violation of the rules of the noble and sacred game, sacrificing it at the alter of greed.’’

CHENNAI (PTI): The BCCI President, Dr A.C. Muthiah tonight hit out at former BCCI Chief I.S.Bindra for making an “irresponsible” statement which should be “condemned”.

Reacting to Mr Bindra’s allegations at a press conference in New Delhi today that every single match in international cricket was fixed, Muthiah said “Mr Bindra has been saying that he is willing to give evidence. But his willingness is not enough, he has to present himself to the Delhi police to submit whatever proof he has”.

Dr Muthiah appealed to all board officials and cricketers, past and present, or any Indian individual not to indulge in mud-slinging but to hand over all relevant documents that they might have to the Delhi police, which is probing the betting and match-fixing case involving South Africa’s sacked captain Hansie Cronje and four other team-members.

Referring to Mr Bindra’s statement that he had endeavoured to check wrongdoings while he was the board president, he asked “What action did Mr Bindra take at that time to stop it?”

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