Friday, April 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Indians get clean chit
Chandrachud doesn’t rule out betting
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, April 20 — Large-scale betting does take place in India, says the Chandrachud Committee report on match-fixing allegations, while giving a clean chit to Indian players and officials.

“There is, undoubtedly, large-scale betting on cricket but that is a law and order problem. One cannot, therefore, rule out the possibility that some Indian players may be laying the flutter of a bet. But, it is less than just to conclude that they lay bets for losing a match. Such a charge lacks substance and is justified,” the report say.

The 94-paged report was tabled in Parliament by the Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today.

The report has been made public almost two and a half years after it was submitted to the Board for Cricket Control in India (BCCI) on November 17, 1997.

The report summarily rejected allegations of match fixing in Indian cricket by former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar as “imaginary and unrealistic”.

The former Chief Justice of India, Mr Y V Chandrachud, who was appointed by the BCCI in 1997 to probe the issue, has based statements made by 28 persons — players, administrators and journalists - to give a clean chit to players and officials.

The report has been made public even as allegations fly thick in the wake of the sensational Delhi police case of match fixing involving sacked South African skipper Hansie Cronje and three more.

“The data before me does not show that any Indian player, official or journalist has ever taken part in fixing a match or that any of them lay bets on cricket for the purpose of match fixing so as to lose a match. There is, undoubtedly, large-scale betting on cricket but that is a law and order problem,” the report said.

Justice Chandrachud, who had a five-point reference to probe the allegations, has based his findings on the statements of current and former players including Sachin Tendulkar, Mohmmad Azharuddin, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Nayan Mongia, Ajay Jadeja and Ajit Wadekar — who have all made statements that there was no possibility that any Indian player could be involved in match fixing — to make his conclusion.

The report, excerpts of which were published in the media soon after completion of the inquiry, was tabled in Parliament after the cricket board decided to make it public and requested the government to table it in Parliament.

Justice Chandrachud has dismissed various allegations levelled by Prabhakar, the most important point of reference for the probe, saying “I have no hesitation in rejecting the allegations made by Manoj Prabhakar. These are imaginary and unrealistic”.

“...Manoj lost his equipoise because firstly, to quote his own words, he was ‘thrown out of the Indian team’. ...He was then discarded by his own home team, the Delhi and District Cricket Association. That evidently unhinged him because, having been a hero of the crowds for quite some years he was relegated into oblivion”.

“... It is tragic that he should have made untrue allegations which are calculated to dilute, if not to destroy the glorious uncertainty, the fun, the charm and the camaraderie of a great game. The greatest harm he has done is to his own image as a key player in the team...,” Justice Chandrachud said.

In his deposition, Prabhakar had said his allegations that he was offered a bribe by a teammate to play poorly during a 1994 one-day tournament in Sri Lanka were true, but said he could not disclose the name for fear of his life and defamation suit as he had no evidence to prove his charges.

“I cannot disclose the names of teammates or of any other person involved in offering the bribe to me for losing the game because if I do so, my life will be in danger.

“I was given a threat to that effect by persons who offered me the bribe. I am also afraid that I will be sued or prosecuted for defamation if I disclose the names. I have no evidence to prove my statements,” he told the inquiry.

Justice Chandrachud said: “I pleaded with him that he may disclose the names to me in confidence and that I will not mention those names in my report,... . Faced with this situation, he changed his stance, an adroit player that he is, and said that he is afraid that he will be sued or prosecuted if he disclosed the names”.

On depositions by some journalists and cricket administrator Sunil Dev that matches could indeed be fixed and that some players laid bets to lose matches, the report said: They have drawn their own inferences on the general situation.

Justice Chandrachud said he took the versions of senior police officers on betting, but there was no proof of any player’s involvement in match fixing or betting. “But even they (police officers) said it has not been possible for their investigating teams to identify any player or players in the Indian team who lay bets on cricket”.


SA umpires offered money

JOHANNESBURG, April 20 (PTI) — In yet another development in the match-fixing saga, two top South African umpires have come out with disclosures that they were offered money to influence results of matches at different points in their career.

While umpire Cyril Mitcheley said he was offered $ 50,000 to ensure Pakistan did not lose the last of a three Test home series against Australia — which the hosts won 1-0 — in 1996, umpire Rudi Koertzen did not disclose the amount but said he was approached with an offer during a limited overs match between India and West Indies in last year’s Tri-Nation One-Day Series in Singapore which also involved Zimbabwe.

“I was called by someone in the crowd on the first morning. He offered me $ 50,000 to ensure Pakistan did not lose the match,” Mitcheley, who was on the ICC umpiring panel from 1994 to 1998, said.

“I immediately reported the exchange to match referee John Reid from New Zealand and we went back to the spot. The guy had gone by then and John obviously decided not to take the matter any further,” he added.

Koertzen, who is currently on the ICC panel, said he received a call in his hotel room from a person who suggested he could make some money by influencing the result of the match between India and West Indies.

“I immediately hung up the phone and reported the incident to match referee. These guys will try their luck with anyone involved with the game,” he said.

Reacting to the statements, South Africa cricket board managing director Ali Bacher said both players and umpires should be investigated during the ICC meeting to be held in London on May 2 and 3 to discuss match fixing.

Meanwhile, the government has announced that players and officials would not be forced to testify before the judicial commission of inquiry to be set up within the next few days.

A Sports Department spokesman said the appointment of a Judge to conduct the inquiry is to make the whole exercise more transparent.

The South African Cricket Board will probe allegations that disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje was approached in Mumbai in 1996 to throw away a one-day international against India.

UCB Managing Director Ali Bacher said a one-to-one hearing of the entire South African cricket team would be conducted to ascertain the facts.

“We have to probe these allegations properly,” he said.

Dr Bacher was reacting to media reports quoting former Test cricketers Andrew Hudson and Dave Richardson that bookmakers wanted the South African team to throw away a match — which was converted from being an exhibition tie to a full one-day international — in Mumbai on their 1996 tour of India.

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