|Madhavan's Verdict on Match Fixing : The Complete Report|
ANALYSIS AND OPINION IN
RESPECT OF EACH INDICTED PERSON.
31. Dog eating dog appears also to have been the yet
another guiding principle. In the CBI report as set out at Pages 54 to 96,
the gist of the statements recorded by the CBI of S/Shri Ajay Sharma (Page
54), Manoj Prabhakar (Page 62), Mohd. Azharuddin (Page 68), Dr. Ali Irani
(Page 71), Ajay Jadeja (Page 76), Nikhil Chopra (page 78), Nayan Mongia
(Page 79), Navjyot Singh Sidhu (Page 80), Ajit Wadekar (Page 81), Prashat
Vaidya (Page 83), Ravi Shastri (Page 84), Kapil Dev (Page 85), Sachin
Tendulkar (Page 88), Maninder Singh (Page 90), Kirti Azad (Page 90), Atul
Wassan (Page 91), I.S. Bindra (Page 91), Sunil Dev (Page 94) and Madhav
Rao Scindia (page 95). The gist of the statement of Ram Adhar @ Choudhary
of Feroze Shah Kotla ground has been set out by the CBI at Page 35. Among
these, the most relevant are the statements of the 5 indicted players, Dr.
Ali Irani and Ram Adhar.
32. In the analysis of the evidence in respect of
each indicted person, I shall be setting out their statements as recorded
by CBI, their reaction to such statements when I examined them, my view in
respect of the version put forth by them before the CBI on the one hand
and before me on the other and my finding regarding their guilt or
otherwise. I shall do so with copies of the original statements recorded
by the CBI and not on the basis of the salient features of their
statements as set out in the CBI report. These statements as well as the
statements of the relevant bookies/punters are placed in Volume - II of my
report. I may mention that while giving me these copies CBI had masked the
signature, designation etc. of the CBI officer who recorded the statement.
33. In this context, I am enclosing in Volume - III
of this report the statements of the indicted persons as recorded by the
CBI and as recorded by me as per details furnished below:-
Sl.No. Name of the indicted Page No. in Vol.-II Page
No. in Vol.-III where the statement where the statements as recorded by me
as recorded by CBI appears appears
34. It is suggested that for a comprehensive
appreciation of this report, the aforesaid statements may be perused. In
this report, I shall no doubt refer to the relevant and the salient
features of the statements of the said persons.
35. I shall analyse the role of each indicted person
in the order in which CBI has done at Pages 97 to 124 of the report of
36. I recorded the statement of Ajay Sharma on 18th
November, 2000 at the NSG Officers Mess, near Terminal - 2, IGI Airport,
37. CBI has analysed the evidence against Ajay
Sharma at Pages 97-103 in the report.
38. In the statement of Ajay Sharma recorded by the
CBI, he mentioned at Para - 2 about how he scored a quick century in the
Ram Charan Aggarwal Tournament and when he was returning to the pavilion,
M.K. Gupta had stuffed some money in his pocket. In the statement, Ajay
Sharma is silent about the quantum of money that M.K. had stuffed in his
pocket. However, M.K. himself stated (at Pages 15-16 of the CBI report)
that the amount was Rs. 2000. However, at Para 7 of the statement recorded
by me, Ajay Sharma stated that some persons had put money in his pockets
and one of them was M.K., as conveyed to Ajay Sharma by his friend Sanjay
Bharadwaj. Ajay Sharma stated that when the money was counted, it was
around Rs. 1,300. My opinion in this regard is that irrespective of the
quantum of money which M.K. had stuffed in the pocket of Ajay Sharma, Ajay
Sharma cannot be faulted for what took place as he was a very young man
and there is nothing wrong if fans stuff some small amounts of money in
the pockets of a player, who had played well. It was a token of their
appreciation of his game. He cannot push them off. This took place in the
late-eighties. MK however had long range plans.
39. However, what is more relevant in this part of
the statement of Ajay Sharma recorded by me is the following (at Para 7).
"I had not known M.K. I have never known M.K.
Gupta by the said name or by the name M.K. or John. I cannot identify M.K.
Gupta even now."
40. With this statement which Ajay Sharma made right
at the commencement of his statement recorded by me, he washed his hands
off in respect of M.K. Gupta and what he stated before the CBI about their
contacts. In particular, Ajay Sharma has denied the following in relation
41. He stated that each and every part of his
statement as recorded by CBI regarding the contacts between him and M.K.
as well as the introductions made by him of various persons with M.K. and
other transactions between M.K. and himself on the one hand and various
other players on the other are all false.
42. Similarly, in respect of Ajay Gupta also, he
stated that he knew Ajay Gupta only because the latter's son was being
trained by Ajay Sharma in the Roshanara Club. He mentioned in the
statement recorded by me that he did not introduce Ajay Gupta to
Azharuddin as mentioned in his statement recorded by the CBI.
43. He stated before me that he did not tell the CBI
that he had received various amounts from M.K. or Ajay Gupta as appearing
in his statement recorded by the CBI.
44. He has also denied in his statement recorded by
me that he did make telephone calls to Azharuddin but it had nothing to do
with cricket and was in relation to an injury sustained by Ajay Sharma's
son Manan Sharma on 9th March, 2000.
45.Ajay Sharma has denied all the allegations held
by the CBI as proved against him in the analysis of evidence in the CBI
report at Pages 97-103.
46. From the statement of Ajay Sharma recorded by
me, it will be seen that he has chosen to admit before me only those
portions of his statement recorded by the CBI, such as telephone calls,
which he knew could not be denied as CBI has computer printouts of such
47. I am now setting out the salient features of the
analysis of evidence against Ajay Sharma as appearing in the CBI report at
M.K. stated before CBI 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 before CBI, has said that it was not he but his
roommate Manoj Prabhakar who used to provide said information to M.K. CBI
has expressed the view that this appears unlikely as Manoj Prabhakar had
not been personally introduced to M.K. till then and he had only a
telephonic introduction through Ajay Sharma. CBI has therefore, concluded
that M.K.'s statement seems more plausible. I am inclined to agree with
CBI, because from the point of view of M.K., it did not matter whether he
took the name of Ajay Sharma or Manoj Prabhakar, as the crux of the
allegation is the information received by him.
49. CBI has correctly concluded that Manoj Prabhakar
was introduced to M.K. by Ajay Sharma sometime after the New Zealand tour
in 1990 but before the Indian team's tour of England in 1990.
M.K. however, stated before the CBI that the
Delhi-Bombay Ranji Trophy Quarter Final match played in Delhi in 1991 was
intentionally lost by Delhi as some of the players were committed to
playing league cricket matches in England, the dates of which were
clashing with the dates of further Ranji Trophy matches. Ajay Sharma was a
member of the Delhi team and he confirmed before the CBI the same fact.
51. However, in the statement recorded by me, Ajay
Sharma stated that this was not so and the Delhi team lost the match in
the normal course. He also pointed out the he had himself scored 57 runs.
In so far as this match is concerned, the allegation is not one of match
fixing or wilfully losing the match due to money having passed hands. This
can utmost be a illustration of how players lose matches when their own
self-interest took precedence and dictated their behaviour. M.K. would no
doubt have benefitted by the advance information he had. I do not believe
Ajay Sharma's statement that Delhi lost the match in normal course.
M.K. had stated before CBI that Ajay Sharma had
introduced Azharuddin to him sometime in 1995 at Hotel Taj Palace, New
Delhi. Both Ajay Sharma and Azharuddin admitted this in their statements
recorded by the CBI. However, both have mentioned in their statements
recorded by me that they never gave such statements to CBI. According to
M.K. he paid a sum of Rs. 5 lakhs to Ajay Sharma for the said
introduction. Ajay Sharma admitted this before CBI; but before me he
denied having stated so to the CBI.
M.K. had further mentioned to the CBI that Ajay
Sharma accompanied him to Hyderabad to meet and settle issues with
Azharuddin after the Titan Cup series in 1996, when matches did not work
out as planned between Azharuddin and M.K. Ajay Sharma accepted this in
his statement recorded by the CBI but before me, he stated that he had
never stated so to the CBI.
M.K. further stated before CBI 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 @ Choudhary, groundsman of Feroze Shah Kotla ground. Both Ajay
Sharma and Choudhary accepted this fact before CBI but Ajay Sharma stated
before me that he had never stated so before CBI. Ram Adhar said that his
statement to that effect was obtained by CBI by using third degree
methods. Ajay Sharma also conceded before CBI that he received Rs. 3 lakhs
from M.K. for the said arrangement and he paid Choudhary Rs. 50,000. In
the statement recorded by CBI, Choudhary admitted that he received Rs.
50,000 from Ajay Sharma. However in the statements of Ajay Sharma and
Choudhary recorded by me both have denied having stated so before CBI. It
is relevant to state that the said test ended in about 3-½ days time with
India emerging as winners. Later in this report, I would be exonerating
Ram Adhar of manipulating the pitch. Consequently, I exonerate Ajay Sharma
also in respect of this allegation.
M.K. also told CBI that sometime in 1996, Ajay
Sharma had brought Ajay Jadeja to the residence of M.K. at C-538, Defence
Colony, New Delhi for introducing M.K. to Ajay Jadeja. Ajay Sharma
admitted this before CBI. Ajay Sharma also stated that M.K. had paid Rs.
50,000 to Ajay Jadeja out of which the latter paid Rs. 18,000 to Ajay
Sharma. Before me however, Ajay Sharma stated that he had never made such
admission before CBI.
56. From the circumstantial evidence, MK's statement
before CBI and Ajay Sharma's demeanour when I examined him I find him
guilty of such incriminating contacts and transactions with MK, except in
respect of the allegation of manipulating the pitch. Para 54 above refers
in this regard.
57. Ajay Sharma however, admitted before me that he
also knew Ajay Gupta but not in the manner in which CBI has concluded but
only because Ajay Sharma coached Ajay Gupta's son in the Roshanara Club.
Before the CBI, Ajay Sharma stated that he introduced Azharuddin to Ajay
Gupta and others sometime in 1998 at Hotel Taj Palace in New Delhi. This
was corroborated before the CBI by Sanjay Anand, a members of Roshanara
Club, who is a common friend of Ajay Sharma and Guptas. Before me also,
Ajay Sharma admitted that he knew Sanjay Anand. Ajay Sharma admitted
before CBI that both he and Sanjay Anand received Rs. 5 lakhs each from
the Guptas for the said introduction. However, before me Ajay Sharma
denied having stated so to the CBI. Sanjay Anand however, denied even
before CBI of having received such money from the Guptas. This was
contradicted by Nishit Goel when he was present at the meeting which 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 lakhs each for
introducing Azharuddin and that, after a few months Sanjay Anand had
confirmed to Nishit Goel of having received the amount.
58. CBI has stated in its report that the nexus
between Ajay Sharma and Ajay Gupta is further corroborated by 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 Ajay
Gupta offered to bear the expenditure of Ajay Sharma's visit to England
during the World Cup, 1999. CBI has stated that Ajay Sharma in his
statement, had accepted that Ajay Gupta had financed his and his family's
visit to England in 1999 during the World Cup. Ajay Sharma had also
admitted before the CBI that cell phone 9811195929, which was robbed from
him at Gurgaon in January 2000 was provided to him by Ajay Gupta. Ajay
Sharma had also accepted before the CBI that his "recent" calls
to Azharuddin were to wish him "All the Best" and to find out
whether he had spoken to the Guptas. CBI has concluded "All these
facts clearly establish Ajay Sharma's nexus with the Guptas and his role
as a middleman".
59. CBI has furnished to me a copy of the affidavit
given by Ajay Gupta in this regard to CWC. Copy thereof is placed at page
17 of Volume-II.
60. When I questioned Ajay Sharma on these aspects,
he stated (at para 18 of his statement), that it is correct that Ajay
Gupta gave an affidavit dated 24.9.99 to CWC that he would bear the
expenditure of the visit to UK of Ajay Sharma and his family and that the
said expenditure would be borne by him out of his personal savings and due
to love and affection. This affidavit was given by Ajay Gupta to enable
Ajay Sharma to get leave and NOC from CWC. Ajay Sharma stated that it is
correct that Ajay Gupta had borne the expenditure as above. Ajay Sharma
added, "however, he had told me that I may pay him the money
later". Ajay Sharma stated that in England there was no boarding and
lodging expenses as he and his family stayed with Mr. Pankaj Tripathi in
Burnley, near Manchester. He added that the air tickets were obtained
through a travel agency firm, the name of which Ajay Sharma does not
remember. But the owner of the said firm was one Prakash of Rajinder Nagar.
Ajay Sharma stated further before me, "I have not yet paid the money
to Ajay Gupta and it is still outstanding".
61. It would be found from the above that Ajay
Sharma admitted before me most of what he stated before the CBI in this
regard but changed the facts slightly to make it appear as if it was a
loan to be repaid to Ajay Gupta. It is clear that Ajay Sharma has been
legally advised that as a public servant, it was irregular on his part to
obtain free tickets and hospitality from Ajay Gupta and it is for this
reason that he stated before me that he was to pay the amount of the
tickets to Ajay Gupta but it is still outstanding. Besides, acceptance of
this gift would also prove his proximity to Ajay Gupta. I am not inclined
to accept the version stated before me by Ajay Sharma. It is clear that it
was a gift from Ajay Gupta for services rendered to him by Ajay Sharma.
62. Regarding the cell phone which was robbed from
him in Gurgaon, Ajay Sharma stated that the cell phone as well as Opel
Astra car were robbed from him at gun point. The car belonged to Divya
Nautiyal's finance company and the cell phone instrument belonged to Ajay
Gupta. Ajay Gupta had given to Ajay Sharma only the instrument for
temporary use. The SIM card, which Ajay Sharma used therein, was his own.
Ajay Sharma added that he had not invested Rs. 5 lakhs with Divya Nautiyal
as recorded in his statement by the CBI. Ajay Sharma added that therefore
the question of his getting back Rs. 1.5 lakhs from Divya Nautiyal did not
arise. He further stated before me that if there is something in Manoj
Prabhakar's tapes about Azharuddin making investment with Divya Nautiyal
through Ajay Sharma, it was not correct. Ajay Sharma also stated before
me, "it is correct however that myself and Azharuddin were not on
good terms with Manoj Prabhakar".
63. Regarding his telephone conversations with
Azharuddin referred to above, Ajay Sharma stated that this was in March
2000 when the Ranji Trophy match between Delhi and Karnataka was held in
Bangalore. Ajay Sharma was to leave for Karnataka on 9.3.2000. However, as
Manan Sharma, the 9 year old son of Ajay Sharma, got injured in the
genitals while playing and the injury became serious and required
admission and treatment in Mann Hospital, Roop Nagar, Ajay Sharma
cancelled his visit to Bangalore. He said that his calls to Azharuddin
were in connection with his son's injury and treatment. Ajay Sharma added,
"I did not ask whether he had spoken to the Guptas about the
match". It may be stated that in the statement recorded by the CBI,
Ajay Sharma had stated to the contrary. He added before me that he also
spoke to Azharuddin many times regarding the benefit match for Gursharan
and Vivek Razdan.
64. It appears to be a fact that Ajay Sharma's son
got injured as stated by him before me. However, this did not require many
calls to Azharuddin. Even wishing, "All the Best" did not
require many calls. I do not believe what Ajay Sharma mentioned in this
regard before me. I am inclined to agree with the CBI that all these facts
clearly establish Ajay Sharma's nexus with the Guptas and his role as a
middleman, including for Azharuddin.
65. The analysis by the CBI proceeds to state (at
Page 102) that there is further documentary proof of Ajay Sharma's nexus
with the Guptas in the form of numerous telephonic calls between them as
reflected in the cell phone printouts. Ajay Sharma had made a number of
calls to Ajay Gupta and Ameesh Gupta, especially just before or during
cricket matches. CBI states that Ajay Sharma made two calls to Ajay Gupta
on 14th March, 2000. This was one day prior to the third one-day
international match between India-South Africa at Faridabad. Similarly,
Ajay Sharma had made two calls to Ajay Gupta on 22nd March, 2000, when
India was playing a one-day international match against South Africa at
66. When this passage in the CBI report was read out
by me to Ajay Sharma, he stated that the two calls made by him to Ajay
Gupta on 14th March, 2000 related to his son having been admitted in the
hospital at that time. Regarding the two calls made by him to Ajay Gupta
on 22nd March 2000, they could also be about his son or some other general
67. It is relevant to mention that CBI has mentioned
specifically only regarding four calls among a number of calls made by
Ajay Sharma to Ajay Gupta and Ameesh Gupta. Obviously, all of them cannot
relate to Ajay Sharma's son's illness. If Ajay Sharma's only acquaintance
with Ajay Gupta was because Ajay Sharma was coaching Ajay Gupta's son in
Roshanara Club, it did not require frequent contacts with Ajay Gupta and
Ameesh Gupta over the cell phone.
68. At this stage, I have to deal with another
tangential allegation against Ajay Sharma which is reported by the CBI at
Page 98 of the report. M.K. had conveyed to CBI that sometime in 1995,
Ajay Sharma renewed his contacts with M.K. and asked for Rs. 15,000 to pay
for a Zen car on which there was a 'black' of Rs. 15,000. CBI also adds
that Ajay Sharma accepted this in his statement, although he stated the
year as 1993-94.
69. On this aspect, Ajay Sharma stated before me
that he did not take Rs. 15,000 from M.K. The car was purchased by Ajay
Sharma in his own name for Rs. 3,04,235 from Rohan Motors Ltd. Vide
invoice no. 5901 dated 6th December, 1993. The registration number of the
car was DL 8C 1838. Ajay Sharma still has the car even now. He showed me
the originals of the invoice and the RC and handed over to me attested
photocopies thereof. On scrutiny, I found that the invoice was in the name
of Ajay Sharma himself and not in the name of any other person which would
normally have been the case if there had been a 'black'. Similarly, the RC
is also in the name of Ajay Sharma. Copies thereof are enclosed with Ajay
Sharma's statement in Volume-III. Consequent upon this, I would give the
benefit of doubt in this regard to Ajay Sharma and hold that this
particular allegation of M.K. paying Rs. 15,000 to Ajay Sharma is not
proved even by the theory of evidence of preponderance of probabilities.
When this passage was read out to Ajay Sharma, he stated that he had
already stated before me that a large part of his statement as recorded by
the CBI about his contacts with bookies/punters on the one hand and the
players on the other is incorrect and wrongly recorded by CBI. He denied
that he had acted as conduit between the players and the betting
syndicates in fixing matches.
In reply to my last query whether he would like to add anything further,
Ajay Sharma stated that his close friendship with Azharuddin had been
misinterpreted on the basis of incorrect evidence and inferences that it
related to match fixing etc. Neither Ajay Sharma nor Azharuddin had done
any such thing. Ajay Sharma added that he had devoted the best years of
his life to the game of cricket and had scored more than 10,000 runs in
first class matches. His average in first class and international matches
put together is 68.50. Ajay Sharma stated that this record is third in the
world, the first being of Sir Donald Bradman and the second of Vijay
Merchant. Ajay Sharma added that he had scored 31 centuries in Ranji
matches, which is the best record in India. He concluded, "I have
never helped in match fixing. I am not aware of any other player also
resorting to match fixing".
The pointed issue in this inquiry is not the capability or record of the
concerned players. In fact, the very fact that all the five players
involved in this enquiry were in the national team clearly shows that each
one of them had an excellent record in their own areas of specialisation
in the game of cricket. The enquiry, on the other hand, is about
misconduct or offence committed by them in the matter of match fixing and
betting and also maintaining undesirable and frequent contacts with
bookies/punters which was unbecoming for a national level player like Ajay
Therefore, while I take my hat off for the excellent record of the
concerned players, including Ajay Sharma, I have to fault them where the
evidence indicates their culpability. Mike Tyson is a great boxer; but he
had to pay the price when he committed a crime. Ben Johnson had to suffer
My final opinion regarding the role of Ajay Sharma in this regard is as
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