Sunday, November 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jadeja’s defence unconvincing
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 4 — A nervous and ill-prepared Ajay Jadeja today made attempts at the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) here to come clean on the allegations of match fixing levelled against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its report presented to the government earlier this week.

An unconvincing former India vice-captain got further flustered by the sudden arrival of the Shiv Sena activists, who armed with eggs and other missiles were shouting anti-Jadeja slogans. Jadeja, who was rushed to safety by the organisers and those accompanying him emerged 10 minutes later only to be further flimsy in his explanation to the allegations in the CBI report and those levelled against him by the former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin and the alleged bookies.

The former India allrounder was unable to face the barrage of questions posed to him by the media and was ill at ease trying to present his side of the story. He just kept flashing the statement prepared for him by his lawyers and distributed to the media while pleading innocence and saying that he had been convicted as a ‘‘match fixer’’ by the media.

For every question posed to him, Ajay Jadeja said everything was in the statement which had been circulated and that only his statement should be quoted by the newsmen, who were present in large numbers. He also apparently tried to seek sympathy by saying that he had not slept for three days and that the media should not go on a ‘witchhunt’.

Banned from further cricket by the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday, Jadeja, however, admitted that he had made a mistake in knowing the bookies. But he said that he had no inclination of whether match fixing existed in India or even that the men charged by the CBI as bookies were actually bookies. ‘‘Who am I to judge. I am nobody to answer this question, I never had any information about such things and I never thought of it.’’

Jadeja accused the CBI of giving an unfair verdict against him and said that it was premised on ‘‘false and concocted’’ evidence. He asserted that ‘‘at no time in my career have I been involved with match fixing as defined in the CBI report’’.

I have never accepted money or any other form of consideration for underperforming in domestic, international or any other levels.

‘‘At all times I have had the privilege of representing my country, state or board, I have had the privilege of representing my country, state or board, I have played the game to the very best of my ability and skill,’’ he said.

He said he was definitely going to appear before Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) commissioner of inquiry K. Madhavan. ‘‘I will put before the commissioner my case the same way I have done it before you today. I will stand by every word of my statement which I have made here.’’

He was at a loss to explain why his former captain Mohammed Azharuddin had reportedly told the CBI that Jadeja and (Nayan) Mongia were involved in fixing certain matches. Azhar did not appear to have offered any evidence, he said. The former India vice-captain added, ‘‘this statement is totally false’’.

He expressed dismay over Azhar’s statement and said ‘‘I am at loss why Azharuddin has brought my name into the picture’’.

‘‘Azharuddin says that Ajay Gupta had fixed the Pepsi Cup match between India and Pakistan at Jaipur and Nayan Mongia and I were involved with him. However, the absurdity of the allegation against me can be gauged by the fact that I was the top scorer in that match. Moreover, Azhruddin does not appear to have offered any evidence of any kind to back up his statements’’.

When the Press conference was on, a group of 15 to 20 Shiv Sena activists shouting ‘‘Match-fixers ko saja do’’ and ‘‘Desh ke gaddaron ko saja do’’ barged into the Women’s Press Corps premises waving black flags. However, the mediapersons prevailed on them to leave the premises and the Press conference resumed after 15 minutes.

Jadeja strongly refuted the reports that he broke down during the investigations. ‘‘I went to CBI headquarters thrice and was investigated for a total of over three hours and never once did I break down.”


ICC team meets CBI officials
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 4 — A two-member team of the International Cricket Council (ICC) met Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials here today to get first-hand information about the betting and match-fixing probe undertaken by it, which has resulted in the suspension of five Indian cricketers, including former Indian captain Mohammed Azharuddin.

The team comprising Mr Martin Hawkins and Mr Alan Peacock, both from ICC’s anti-corruption branch, held talks with the CBI investigators about the report, which has named nine foreign cricketers besides the Indian players.

The two-hour meeting was “fruitful” and “elaborate”, Mr Hawkins said emerging from the CBI headquarters without divulging what exactly transpired between them and the CBI officials.

Soon after the meeting, a CBI spokesperson, Mr S. M. Khan, told reporters that the ICC officials and the CBI officers had a good discussion and the visiting team had shown keen interest on the findings of the agency.

When asked whether the ICC investigating team would hold another round of discussion with the agency officials, he said “as of now nothing has been fixed. However, we will extend them all possible assistance.”

Asked whether the ICC team was keen on knowing about the foreign cricketers, Mr Khan said “they showed interest on all aspects of the probe conducted by the CBI.”

The CBI team was represented by the Joint Director, Mr R. N. Sawani, DIG Mr Y. P. Singh and SP Mr M. A. Ganapathi.

The CBI report, made public on Wednesday by the Union Sports Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, names former England captain Alec Stewart, West Indian batsman Brian Lara, Australian allrounder Mark Waugh and his former teammate Dean Jones, former Sri Lankan captains Arvinda D’Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga, sacked South African captain Hansie Cronje, former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe and former Pakistan skipper Salim Malik.

Among the Indian players, former skippers Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja, former allrounder Manoj Prabhakar, wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia, former Delhi captain Ajay Sharma and former physiotherapist Ali Irani have been named in the report besides umpire P. Reporter and a number of bookies and punters.

The BCCI has suspended the five Indian cricketers named by the CBI for 15 days and has constituted a probe by a former CBI Director, Mr K. Madhavan, to recommend the future course of action.

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