Sunday, November 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Kapil, Sachin may be examined
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 18 — The players who were given clean chit by the CBI in its match-fixing and betting report, including the former Indian coach Kapil Dev could be examined, said the BCCI appointed special commissioner, Mr K. Madhavan, who completed the examination of the five CBI indicted cricketers and the BCCI officials today.

“I have completed the examination of five cricketers and BCCI treasurer and the Ferozshah Kotla groundsman indicted by the CBI today,” Mr Madhavan told newspersons late this evening.

“From tomorrow I would study the report based on the statements given by the five Indian players and the CBI report, Justice Chandrachud report and if the need arises I may examine even those let off by the CBI in its report,” the BCCI special commissioner said.

When asked pointedly whether he would examine the Haryana huricane Kapil Dev or the little master Sachin Tendulkar, the former CBI Joint Director said “I do not rule out the possibility.”

Mr Madhavan said “I will submit my report to the BCCI by November 25, and the BCCI is meeting in Calcutta to discuss it.

Asked whether he would suggest the kind of punishment to given to the players, who he finds guilty, Mr Madhavan said: “I would only record my observations and my findings based on the examination of players and the CBI report. I would not nor can, recommend the kind of punishment to be given to the players.”

Mr Madhavan said he had examined the BCCI treasurer Kishore Rungta and the Ferozshah Kotla groundsman indicted in the CBI report.

He said “I met the BCCI chief, Mr Muthiah, in Chennai on November 12 and discussed the CBI finds on the board.”

“I have asked the BCCI to explain the version to the comments made by the CBI in the report. The BCCI chief said he would cooperate. I hope to receive their explanation soon,” he added.

Mr Madhavan examined the former Delhi captain Ajay Sharma for three hours at the NSG mess, near the IGI Airport.

The media was kept at dark throughout the day about the venue of the examination. Mr Madhavan said: “I had to play this little trick after the unpleasant episode of public demonstration and attack by the Shiv Sena activists at a press conference called by the Ajay Jadeja earlier this month in the capital.”

Mr Madhavan said he had gone to examine the former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin in Hyderabad, the stylish right handed batsman feared that his life was in danger if he was examined outside the Charminar city.

“In my 40 year career as an investigating officer, as a CBI officer, I have never examined anyone at a place suggested by them,” the former CBI Joint Director said, adding “I wanted him to defend his position.”

Explaining the manner in which he carried out his task, Mr Madhavan said the examination was in three parts — the full statement given by a player/official to the CBI was read out and the reaction was sought; the CBI analysis of the statement was read out and the reaction of the players was recorded; and finally they were given free hand to give their statement and not just reply to the question posed by me.

The five cricketers indicted by the CBI in the betting and match-fixing report were former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar, wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia, middle-order batsman Ajay Jadeja, former Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, former Delhi captain Ajay Sharma, the physio Dr Ali Irani, the BCCI treasurer Kishore Rungta and the Ferozshah Kotla groundsman appeared before the commission.


Bush leads by 927 votes

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, Nov 18 (AP) — The latest results from the overseas absentee ballot count in the presidential race in Florida today showed Republican George W. Bush leading Democrat Al Gore by 927 votes in the overall vote.

The overall tally includes vote totals already certified by the state plus the overseas ballots.

With overseas votes in 66 of the 67 counties counted, a survey by the Associated Press shows Mr Bush picked up 1,375 votes and Democrat Al Gore gained 748 votes.

These results do not include any vote gains made by the candidates in disputed hand recounts underway in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Broward County reports Mr Gore has gained 48 votes in the hand recount so far. Palm Beach county reported that Bush had gained four votes in the hand recount so far.

The AP county-by-county tally is an unofficial survey of overseas ballots which had to be postmarked by November 7 and received by the counties no later than midnight yesterday (1030 IST Saturday). Counties have until 1700 GMT (2230 IST) today to submit their totals.

The overseas vote totals are subject to verification by the Florida Secretary of State’s Office and subject to legal challenges by candidates and others.

Election returns certified by the Secretary of State as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday showed Mr Bush with 2,910,492 votes and Mr Gore with 2,910,192, a lead of 300 votes for Mr Bush.

UNI adds: The prospects of Mr George W. Bush being declared President elect suffered a setback today when Florida’s supreme court barred the state from announcing the results, until at least next week.

Florida’s Secretary of State Katherine Harris had said she would announce the results this afternoon after the completion of counting of overseas ballots.

Vice-President Al Gore received a fresh lease of life with the apex court’s decision after the trial court at Leon had ruled that the Florida election administration could announce the results without waiting for the findings of the ongoing manual counts in three counties .

A visibly pleased Vice-President told newspersons that neither Mr Bush nor the Florida’s Secretary of State or him could be the arbitrators of this elections.

The American people want to make certain that every vote counts and that every vote is counted, fairly and accurately, he said from the lawns of his official residence here.

In another blow to the Republican Party, the circuit court in Atlanta rejected their plea for stopping the manual counting of the Florida ballots.

The Florida supreme court would hear the arguments on Tuesday in what appears to be a protracted legal war in which politicians have little role.

Meanwhile, the manual counting, which were stopped under one pretext or the other during the past one week, has commenced in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami Dadi counties this afternoon.

The exercise would take at least seven days. After a five-day holiday at his central Texas ranch, Mr Bush today returned to Austin, the state capital.

He is adopting a low profile and has avoided meeting newspersons for some time.

The state’s high court said it would hear arguments in the case at 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) on Monday and would accept briefs from each side on Saturday and Sunday.

The court did not stop the hand counting of votes, meaning that if Mr Gore overcame Mr Bush’s lead in the weekend counting it would buttress his argument that the state was poised to declare Mr Bush the victor based on an inaccurate count.

The Gore team had vowed to fight Ms Harris if she certified Mr Bush a winner without the disputed manual recounts.

“If she does go forward tomorrow, we will take steps to have her action set aside or reversed,’’ said Mr Gore’s lawyer Warren Christopher. “The winner in Florida should be and must be the person who received the greatest number of votes under a full, fair and accurate count.’’

ALBUQUERQUE (New Mexico) (AP): Mr Al Gore has won a 481-vote squeaker in New Mexico, the closest presidential race of any state other than Florida. Mr Gore took the smaller state’s five electoral votes.

The victory had no effect on Florida’s standing as the state that would decide the US presidency, but it ensured that if Mr Bush wins he will have only one electoral vote to spare.

MIAMI (AFP): Miami-Dade County is to go ahead with a manual recount of its 650,000 presidential election votes, a spokesman has said. County election officials voted 2-1 to reverse its earlier decision and conduct a full hand recount, the spokesman said on Friday.

After a recount earlier ‘this week of 5,871 ballots, or about 1 per cent, canvassing board voted 2-1 against a full recount.

However, after the county Democratic Party disputed the decision, election officials changed their minds.

Miami-Dade, Florida’s most populous county, joins Palm Beach and Broward counties in conducting hand counts.

Palm Beach is proceeding with a recount of more than 460,000 ballots while Broward is recounting its 588,000 ballots.

Volusia County completed a hand recount on Thursday, adding 98 votes to Mr Gore’s total.

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