Players Involved

CBI Match Fixing Report

AJAY SHARMA

Ajay Sharma, the former Indian player stated that he first played cricket for Delhi in 1984 when Mohinder Amrarnath was the captain. He played for India for the first time in 1987 and has in all played one test match and 33 one-day internationals.

Ajay Sharma played league cricket in Delhi, and in one of the league matches he played for the Sonnet Club in the Ram Charan Aggarwal tournament in the late 1980s, in a ground near Town Hall, Delhi, he scored a century. The spectators watching the match were happy and surrounded him on his way back to the pavilion. Some people also put some money in his pockets as a gesture. From the ground, his friend Sanjay Bharadwaj and some policemen escorted him.

One of the persons from the crowd had dropped some money in his front shirt pocket about whom his friend Sanjay Bharadwaj later asked if he recognized that person. On his expressing ignorance about the person, Sanjay Bharadwaj had told him that the man who had put money in his pocket was "M K Gupta", who was involved in betting in cricket matches.

He denied that he provided information regarding weather, pitch etc to M K Gupta during the Indian Team's tour to New Zealand in 1990. But he remembered that M K had rung up his hotel room during the New Zealand tour in 1990 and had talked to Manoj Prabhakar. After the New Zealand tour, Ajay Sharma was dropped from the Indian team scheduled to tour England and it was during this period that he personally introduced Manoj Prabhakar M K Gupta on the insistence of M K Gupta. Thereafter, he lost touch with M K Gupta who became close to Manoj Prabhakar.

About the Ranji Trophy Quarter Final match between Mumbai and Delhi held at Delhi in 1991, Ajay Sharma stated that, in that particular year Bishen Singh Bedi had taken some court order due to which Ranji Trophy matches were delayed and that some of the Delhi players including himself and Manoj Prabhakar, Maninder Singh, Atul Wassan, Bhaskar Pillai etc were scheduled to play league cricket in England that year. However, since Ranji Trophy matches were delayed, if Delhi had won that round, the next round would have clashed with league commitments in England. In view of this, the players collectively decided to lose the match against Bombay. Bombay won this match on Ist innings lead of one run.

Ajay Sharma further stated that during 1993-94, he wanted to purchase a Zen Car on which there was a 'black' of Rs 15,000 and as he did not have the money to pay the 'black', he contacted M K Gupta, who paid him the required Rs 15,000. Thus his contacts with M K Gupta got renewed.

Sometime around that period, he met Azharuddin in Madras at Hotel Chola Sheraton. Ajay Sharma was in Madras playing the Buchi Babu Tournament. During his meeting with Azharuddin, Azhar asked him if he could get someone to sponsor a fashion-show and charity cricket matches which would cost around rupees one crore. He told Azhar that he would talk to someone whom he knew in Delhi and he approached M K Gupta. M K Gupta agreed to provide Rs one crore and he arranged a meeting for Azhar with M K Gupta in Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi in 1995.

For arranging this meeting and introducing Azhar to M K Gupta he was paid Rs 5 lakhs by M K Gupta. Later, after about a month and half, Azhar rang him up and informed that the person he had introduced had paid him the money. Azhar also told him that M K Gupta was talking to him about 'making" cricket matches to which he told Azhar that he could consider it. Later, when M K Gupta and Azher met him in Delhi, M K Gupta told Azhar that there was no need to pay back the money as it could be adjusted against the cricket matches that would be 'made.'

Ajay Sharma further stated that once he had introduced Azhar to M K Gupta, they kept him out from their dealings and he, therefore, could not say specifically which matches they had fixed. However, during the Triangualar Titan Cup Series in 1996 in India in which South Africa and Australia were also taking part, some complications arose between Azhar and M K Gupta. The latter two had decided to fix matches during the series but the result of one match did not turn out to be as arranged and M K Gupta lost a lot of money.

M K Gupta held him also responsible for his loss as it was he who had introduced Azhar to M K Gupta and M K asked him to accompany him to Hyderabad after just after the series to talk to Azhar regarding the loss suffered by him. He further stated that he travelled with M K Gupta to Hyderabad and stayed in a hotel very close to Azhar's house in Banjara Hills. They met Azhar in Hyderabad, and during the meeting. Azhar promised M K Gupta that he would make up his loss in the ensuing Test Series against South Africa.

Ajay Sharma also revealed that the other players through whom Azhar operated were Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia. As far as his knowledge goes, Ajay Jadeja, N S Sidhu and Manoj Prabhakar also operated together. In fact, N S Sidhu once showed him a black bag containing a large sum of money and said that this was black money which would be converted into white by showing it was farm income.

Ajay Sharma further stated that during the Australia tour of India in 1996, M K Gupta had approached him and asked him if he could have a pitch prepared at the Feroze Shah Kotla Ground in Delhi which would lead to a certain result and for which M K promised to reward him and the grounds man suitably. In this connection, he spoke to groundsman Choudhary at Feroz Shah Kotla and also arranged his meeting with M K Gupta near RajGhat. Choudhary accordingly prepared the desired wicket and a result was obtained in the test match in three and half days.

After that match, Ajay Sharma told M K Gupta that he paid at least Rs 4-5 lakhs for getting the wicket prepared as per his instructions, but M K Gupta paid him only Rs 3 lacs of which he gave Rs 50,000 to groundsman Choudhary and kept the remaining Rs 2.5 lakhs with himself.
Sometime in mid 90s Ajay Sharma took Ajay Jadeja, along with a tall girl, to M K Gupta's house at Defence Colony at round 10.00 pm one night. The meeting was arranged at the instance of M K Gupta. Jadeja agreed to the meeting in spite of knowing that M K Gupta was a cricket bookie.

 At this meeting, Jadeja offered his services to M K Gupta to fix matches but M K wanted to know how many other players he could rope in. Not being satisfied with Jadeja's answer, the deal could not come through. However, M K Gupta paid Rs 50,000 to Jadeja during this meeting. Out of this amount, Jadeja gave Ajay Sharma Rs 18,000 and kept Rs 32,000 for himself saying that he wanted to buy a cellular phone which at that time cost around Rs 32,000.

Ajay Sharma admitted that he knew Ajay Gupta, Ameesh Gupta and Gyan Chand Gupta and that he had introduced Ajay Gupta to Azhar. He was a regular visitor to Roshanara Club in Delhi where one Sanjay Anand who was involved in the management of the club was well known to him. Sanjay Anand once approached him and told him that he had heard that cricket matches were being fixed and a lot of money was being made, that he had a party with him who could invest money and requested him to introduce Azharuddin to his party. Sanjay Anand probably approached him to introduce Azhar as it was common knowledge that he was very close to Azhar. Sanjay Anand first introduced Ajay Sharma to Ajay Gupta. However, nothing came out of this meeting as Azhar was not the captain of the team at that time and Ajay Gupta said that nothing was possible unless Azhar became the captain.

In 1998, when Azhar was the captain, Ajay Gupta asked Sanjay Anand to talk to him to introduce Ajay Gupta to Azharuddin. Accordingly, he talked to Azhar who agreed to meet Ajay Gupta and he arranged the meeting at Taj Palace Hotel, Delhi, where an understanding to fix matches was reached. For arranging this meeting Ajay Gupta gave Rs 5 lakhs each to him and to Sanjay Anand. Sanjay Anand picked up this money from the office of Ajay Gupta. Ajay Gupta later introduced Ameesh Gupta, S/o Gyan Chand Gupta to Azhar. Azhar was also given a mobile phone no. 98111 50860 by the 'Guptas' for his use. He also stated that he knew through Sanjay Anand that all the three Guptas named earlier placed heavy bets with bookies during cricket matches.

On being asked about the recent telephone calls made to Azhar just before or on the day of the matches, he stated that during these calls he used to wish Azhar "All the Best" and also asked him if he had spoken to the Guptas.

On being asked about on Anil Saxena of the Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi, Ajay Sharma stated that he was very close to Azhar and that he also used to keep Azhar's money in the lockers in Taj Palace Hotel. On one occasion, on the instructions of Azhar, he had deposited Rs. 15 lakh in the locker through Saxena in Taj Palace Hotel. He had received this money from Ajay Gupta on behalf of Azhar.

During the 1999 World Cup in England, Ajay Sharma had requested Ajay Gupta to fund him and his family to visit UK. Accordingly, Ajay Gupta arranged for his and his family's visit to England during World Cup 1999. Ajay Gupta also gave an affidavit in May, 1999 in his office at Central Warehousing Corporation that Ajay Gupta would meet all his expenditure during his visit to the UK as Ajay Sharma could not have shown such an expenditure, being a Government Servant.

On being asked as to whom the Opel Astra Car and mobile phone which were snatched from him in Gurgaon in January, 2000 belonged to, Ajay Sharma stated that the car belonged to Divya Nautiyal of Apace Finance Company and mobile phone was that of Ajay Gupta who had given it to him for his own use. He knows Divya Nautiyal for a very long time as they had played cricket together. He had invested around Rs. 5 lakhs with Divya Nautiyal of which he had been paid back only Rs. 1.5 lakh and the rest of the payment was stuck as the finance company was in trouble. He stated that Mohd. Azharuddin did not know Divya Nautiyal and both of them did no have any financial dealings also.

According to Ajay Sharma, Nikhil Chopra had once approached him and asked him whether he knew some bookies who took bets on cricket matches, as Nikhil's 'Sala' (brother-in-law) was interested in betting.

 

ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 
 
(Detailed discussion of evidence (oral and documentary) against player)

It has been clearly established that Ajay Sharma had nexus with bookies/punters including M K Gupta and Ajay Gupta and his associates. He had introduced players to them, provided 'information' about matches and had also manipulated the pitch at least on one occasion to suit the betting syndicate. There is also evidence of him having received money from M K and Ajay Gupta for rendering this service.

According to Mukesh Kumar Gupta@ MK@ John, the first cricketer he had approached was Ajay Sharma. He first met Ajay Sharma sometime in 1988 during the Ram Charan Aggarwal tournament in Delhi and presented him Rs 2000 as a token of his appreciation for one particular knock and also gave him his telephone number requesting Ajay Sharma to contact him in any case of any 'problem'. MK is partially corroborated by Ajay Sharma himself who has stated that although he did not know the person who had stuffed money in his pocket during that tournament, his friend Sanjay Bharadwaj had later told him that it was MK, a cricket bookie.

MK has further stated that, during the India tour of New Zealand in 1990, Ajay Sharma used to telephonically provide him information about the weather, pitch, team composition etc. Ajay Sharma, in his statement, has said that it was not he, but Manoj Prabhakar, who was his room-mate on that tour, who used to provide this information. This appears unlikely since Manoj Prabhakar had not been personally introduced to MK during that tour and he had only a 'telephonic introduction' through Ajay Sharma. In this respect, MK statement seems more plausible. The fact that Manoj Prabhakar was introduced to MK by Ajay Sharma is accepted by all three of them and the 'personal introduction' took place sometime after the New Zealand tour but before the Indian Team's tour of England in 1990.

MK has further stated that the Delhi-Bombay-Ranji Trophy quarter-final match played in Delhi in 1991 was intentionally lost by Delhi since some Delhi players were committed to playing league cricket in England, which was clashing with further Ranji Trophy matches. Ajay Sharma was the member of that team and he has corroborated MK's statement. MK added that sometime in 1995, Ajay Sharma renewed his contacts with him and asked for Rs15000 to pay for his Zen car on which there was a 'black' of Rs 15000. Ajay Sharma accepted this in his statement although he quoted the year as 1993-94.

In his statement, MK has said that Ajay Sharma introduced Azharuddin to him sometime in 1995 at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi. Both Ajay Sharma and Azharuddin corroborate this. According to MK, he paid a sum of Rs 5 lakh to Ajay Sharma for this introduction and this has been accepted by Ajay Sharma. MK has also said that Ajay Sharma accompanied him to Hyderabad to meet and settle the issues with Azharuddin after the Titan Cup series 1996, when the matches did not work out as planned between Azharuddin and MK. Ajay Sharma has also accepted this in his statement. All these facts clearly disclose that Ajay Sharma was acting as a conduit between MK and players, for which he received money from MK.

MK has further stated that in 1996, during the India-Australia Test at Feroze Shah Kotla, Delhi, he got a result-oriented pitch prepared in connivance with Ajay Sharma and Ram Adhar @Chaudhary, a groundsman of Feroze Shah Kotla. Both Ajay Sharma and Chaudhury have accepted this fact. Ajay Sharma concedes that he received Rs 3 lakh from MK for this arrangement and he paid Chaudhury Rs 50,000. Chaudhury has corroborated this and has accepted that he received Rs 50,000 from Ajay Sharma. This Test incidentally ended in around three-and-a-half days time with India emerging as winners.

 

According to MK, sometime in 1996, Ajay Sharma had brought Ajay Jadeja to his Defence Colony residence for an introduction. This fact has been accepted by Ajay Sharma, who has also stated that Jadeja paid him Rs 18,000 - out of Rs 50,000 - which MK had paid Jadeja after the introduction. Ajay Sharma's association with MK seems to have ended sometime in 1996-97 and his association with Ajay Gupta and associates started thereafter.

Ajay Gupta, his cousin Nishit Goel, Gyan Gupta and his son Ameesh Gupta are big time punters of Delhi who operate in unison as a group. They seem to have got into match-fixing sometime in 1998. Among the aforesaid four persons, only Ajay Gupta and Nishit Goel could be examined. Gyan Gupta did not cooperate during the enquiry and his son Ameesh Gupta did not appear before the CBI in spite of being summoned.

Ajay Gupta completely denied that he was into match-fixing or that he was a punter. Nishit Goel denied that he was into match-fixing, he accepted that he placed bets on cricket matches. However, a number of bookies have stated that all the Guptas are big-time punters. Specifically, the statements of bookies - Jai Bhagwan Gupta, Sanjeev Sacher @Babloo and Naveen Sachdeva @ Tinkoo and Deepak Rajouri speak (about) this. This is further corroborated by the cell-phone printouts of Guptas which show a number of calls to Tinkoo, Babloo, Jai and another Delhi bookie, Surender Mandi during cricket matches.

Ajay Sharma has stated that he introduced Azharuddin to Ajay Gupta and others sometime in 1998 at Hotel Taj Palace in New Delhi. This is corroborated by the statement of Sanjay Anand, a member of Roshanara Club, who is a mutual friend of both Ajay Sharma and Guptas. Ajay Sharma adds that both himself and Sanjay Anand received Rs 5 lakh each from the Guptas for this introduction. Sanjay Anand, however, denies receiving money from the Guptas. This is partially negated by the statement of Nishit Goel who has stated that he was present at the meeting that Ajay Gupta had with Ajay Sharma, Sanjay Anand and others wherein it was decided that both Ajay Sharma and Sanjay Anand would be paid Rs 5 lakh each for introducing Azharuddin and that after a few months, Sanjay Anand had confirmed having received the amount to Nishit Goel.

The nexus between Ajay Sharma and Ajay Gupta is further corroborated by the documentary evidence in the form of an affidavit filed by Ajay Gupta with the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) where Ajay Sharma is employed, in which he has offered to bear the expenditure of Ajay Sharma's visit to England during the World Cup- 1990. Ajay Sharma in his statement has accepted that Ajay Gupta had financed his and his family's visit to England in 1999 during the World Cup. Ajay Sharma has also admitted that his cell-phone 98111-95929 which was stolen at Gurgaon in January 2000 was provided to him by Ajay Gupta. Ajay Sharma has also accepted in his statement that his recent calls to Azharuddin was to wish him "All the best" and to find out whether he had spoken to the "Guptas". All these facts clearly establish Ajay Sharma's nexus with the Guptas and his role as a middleman.

There is further documentary proof of Ajay Sharma's nexus with the Guptas in the form of numerous telephone calls between them as reflected in the cell-phone printouts. Ajay Sharma has made a number of calls to Ajay Gupta and Ameesh Gupta, especially just before or during cricket matches. For example, Ajay Sharma made two calls to Ajay Gupta on 14.3.2000. This was just one day prior to the Third one-day international between India-South Africa at Faridabad. Similarly, he had made two calls to Ajay Gupta on 22.3.2000, when India was playing a one-day match against South Africa at Sharjah.

The evidence against Ajay Sharma has to be looked into in the context of his cricket career. He has only played one test and 33 one-day Internationals. Due to the limited number of matches he has played, no evidence of his role in fixing matches in which he had played has come up. However, the facts disclosed during the inquiry, clearly establish that Ajay Sharma acted as a conduit between the players and the betting syndicates in fixing matches.


 

| Homepage | On Line Polls | Polling Results | Post Your | Messages FromRankings | Statistics | Teams | Autographs  |  
| Cric-Calendar | New Interviews | Picture Gallery | World Records | History | Comparative Charts | Refine Your Cricket |
| Cricketology | Dream Team | Time to Laugh | Did U Know | Legends | Quotations | Savi's Diary | Fan-doo Letters |
| Match fixing Saga | Articles Archive  | Cric-couples | Inspiration from Hollywood | Dupliket | Chat |
| World Cup Archive | Chilli 'N' Pepper | Columns | Controversies
| Contest | Tournament Info | News | Membership |