Saturday, August 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

CBI grills BCCI chief, others
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 4 — The Central Bureau of Investigation today questioned the BCCI president, Mr A C Muthiah, board secretary, Mr Jaywant Lele and treasurer, Mr Kishore Rungta in connection with the match-fixing case, even as the Income Tax Department continued with its process of opening up the lockers of cricketers, administrators and bookies.

“We discussed general things and exchanged information,” Mr Muthiah told newspersons outside the CBI office here. However, the investigating agency maintained silence over what transpired during the three-hour long meeting.

The questioning of three board officials comes a day after the middle-order batsman Ajay Jadeja was quizzed by the IT Department and within weeks of the nation-wide raids by the tax sleuths on the premises of players, administrators and bookies.

This is for the first time, ever since the agency registered a preliminary inquiry on May 2, that three cricket administrators have deposed before the CBI and recorded their statements on a single day.

Mr Muthiah denied that any of the players, whose names had figured in the recent match-fixing controversy, would be dropped from the team.

“Let them prove that they are guilty...The question of taking an action could come only at a later stage,” he said.

Meanwhile, sources in the Income Tax Department said they had so far opened 11 lockers of the 17 lockers sealed in Delhi during the nation-wide raids last month.

“The process of opening the lockers belonging to cricketers, bookies and associates would be completed by Monday and the questioning of cricketers and bookies could resume from Tuesday,” sources said.

During the raids, CBI officials had surveyed the premises of Mr Rungta in Jaipur from whose house some fixed deposit receipts were reportedly recovered.

Mr Muthiah said he had asked the CBI to expedite the entire case so that the hype created against the game could ease and doubts over the performance of the players could stop.

Mr Muthiah said the agency also asked them about the functioning of the BCCI and how the elections were held.

The BCCI president denied that the CBI had asked them any questions about interviews by some board officials on a portal.

Mr Lele has been shown on a website making some “nasty” comments, the video filming for which was done clandestinely by former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar.

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