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31st December

 Madhavan submits report on Nikhil Chopra 

Kochi, December 31: BCCI anti-corruption commissioner K Madhavan on Saturday said he had submitted a report on former cricketer Nikhil Chopra to the board, after examining him on charges of match fixing.

“It is for the BCCI to make it public or not,'' he said and meanwhile refused to disclose the contents of the report submitted on December 27. Madhavan, a former CBI joint-director, said he would also examine ex-skippers Kapil Dev and Ajit Wadekar on sixth January and seven respectively, in the wake of charges against them. 

They have been summoned to appear before him at the office of the Delhi District Cricket Association at the Ferozshah Kotla grounds on these dates. His findings on them would be submitted to the BCCI on January 31. Madhavan has so far submitted three reports to the BCCI since he was appointed anti-corruption commissioner to look into the charges levelled against prominent cricketers of the country.

The one report on Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja was submitted on November 25, two days before he filed a supplementary report on his observations about the BCCI.

Answering a question, Madhavan said the post of the anti-corruption commissioner in the BCCI would be retained, as charges of match fixing, if any, against cricketers, would have to be looked into in future as well.

Madhavan said there had been sufficient evidence against some cricketers. "These may require departmental action, but they cannot be proved in a court of law.''

He replied in the negative when asked whether there had been pressure from any quarter to exonerate any tainted player. He had, already exonerated some of the players and individuals who were found guilty in the CBI probe, for want of sufficient evidence against them, he pointed out.

Madhavan was here in connection with the release of a book on his years of service with the CBI, published by the Mathrubhumi printing and publishing company.

"Based on the statements of Kapil and Wadekar, I would decide whether or not to issue summons to other cricketers also," he said.  

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30th December

 Govt. seeks legal help on withdrawal of Arjuna awards 

Nagercoil, December 29: Union minister of state for youth affairs and sports P Radhakrishan on Friday said the government was consulting legal experts on the question of withdrawing the Arjuna awards conferred upon cricketers banned by the BCCI in connection with the match-fixing scandal.

The issue had figured in the Rajya Sabha on December 22 where sports minister Uma Bharati had stated that the government was considering withdrawing Arjuna Awards conferred upon the three cricketers, Mohammed Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar. They had been given 15 days time to state their position as they have been accused in match fixing.

The minister said the government was considering setting up a vigilance committee to prevent 'gambling in cricket'.

He also said a new sports policy would be introduced in the coming parliament session.

"We are going to hold negotiations soon in this regard with sports ministers from different states. Steps will be taken to allot more funds to sports," he added.  

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29th December

 There are more Skeletons to Discover: CBI Chief

New Delhi, December 29: CBI director R K Raghavan believes there is a lot more to the cricket betting and match-fixing scandal than his agency has found and with further probe it hopes to "strike gold sometime."

"Probably there are more characters involved in this drama," he said referring to the alleged underworld connections and added that "two names which came to notice are of Abu Saleem and Anees Ibrahim." He said there was a nexus and money played a part, and "in certain matches there were certain bizarre happenings." 

According to him, Mohammed Azharuddin, who was given a life ban by the cricket board, had confirmed that he had been asked to "do" some matches which the former India captain said he refused.

Asked about the cricket board's criticism of the CBI report, Raghavan said the board was entitled to its views. "BCCI has its views but we have a right to differ. It has a right to differ too. I will be the last person to enter into a slanging match".

"They (BCCI officials) are men of eminence," he said and added that the situation was too grave for them to ignore.

"We have suggested they impose a rigid code of conduct; one which can be implemented. They should install a monitoring mechanism to counter this problem.

 It will be naive on our part to think it will not happen again," the CBI boss said.

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27th December

  Ex-law minister Bhardwaj to fight Azhar case

Mumbai, December 26: Former Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin is likely to file a case against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in a Hyderabad court and has decided to hire the services of Mr. Jagdish, a local lawyer.

However, the overall charge of the legal battle will be taken care by Delhi based H.R.Bhardwaj of Messrs Bhardwaj & Associates. The local legal expert will seek "guidance" from Mr. Bhardwaj as and when required.

Azhar has been advised to file a case against the BCCI, which has banned him for life for official cricket for his alleged involvement in the betting and match-fixing scandal.

Speaking to this correspondent over telephone from his New Delhi before going on a Christmas vacation, Mr. Bhardwaj said, " We have advised him not to fight litigation in Delhi Court as it would be out of economy besides being inconvenient for him to come to Delhi often."

Mr. Bhardwaj, a former law minister (during P V Narasimha Rao and Rajiv Gandhi governments) and currently a Rajya Sabha member, is a fan and great admirer of Azharuddin's game.

" We have advised Azhar to seek media report. Only that forum can protect Azhar from the public forming an adverse opinion about him. We have told him to come out in the open and express all his grievances to the media, " Bhardwaj said.

Azhar may come out with his side of story after Id-ul-Fitar.  

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 CBI to probe underworld mafia links of cricketers

New Delhi, December 26: CBI is not yet finished with the murky dealings in cricket and has now begun a full-fledged investigation into the "unholy" nexus between the underworld mafia and some of India's leading players and administrators.

Highly placed agency sources said a thorough probe to unravel a nexus between cricketers and underworld persons had been initiated and CBI had sought help from various other agencies in this connection.

The sources said CBI director R K Raghavan had held a series of meetings with the officials of other security and intelligence agencies for data on some of the underworld people. The probe into this nexus and its ramifications on the national security is being conducted both within India and abroad.

The sources said the agency, after completing the probe into the role of cricketers and bookies, would be now going deeper into the possible nexus of the underworld with cricket players and administrators.

They said even though the nexus had been unearthed during the agency's probe in the betting and match-fixing scandal, the dimensions were yet to be fully established.

Without disclosing any names, the sources said a "few Indian players" had links with the underworld that had been fairly established during earlier investigation.  

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 Azharuddin to fight life ban

New Delhi, December 27: Cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin has decided to challenge in the court the life ban slapped on him by the cricket board. “He will move the court. But it is yet to be decided whether he will go to the Andhra Pradesh high court or the district court,'' his counsel and former Union law minister H R Bhardwaj said here on Wednesday night.

He said the former India captain's legal advisors were working out the details.

There were also indications here that another former India captain Ajay Jadeja too was working towards moving the court against the five-year ban imposed on him by the cricket board.

Meanwhile, Manoj Prabhakar said that he would first appeal to the board against the five-year ban imposed on him. If I fail to get justice there, I will knock at the court's door,'' he said.

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26th December

 People taking advantage of my silence: Azhar

Hyderabad, December 26: Former Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin on Monday said people were taking advantage of his silence. "People were taking advantage of my silence," Azharuddin said over phone in his in his first comments after being named in CBI report on match-fixing and added that he was pained over speculative reports involving his name in media.

"Every other day there is one story or the other on me. People are trying to take advantage of my silence. It is high time that I speak out," Azhar, banned for life by the cricket board, said. He clarified he attended 'Iftar' hosted by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on an official invitation.

"I attended the Iftar parties on invitation. I don't know why my name is being dragged into the controversy so much," Azhar who remained incommunicado ever since he was named in match   fixing controversy, said.

"I went to the Iftar party hosted by chief minister on Dec 22 on an invitation sent by general administration department and my name figures against serial number 17," Azharuddin said.

Expressing concern over reports in a section of press which quoted chief minister as saying, "I did not invite him (Azhar), but if somebody greets you at a function, you just cannot brush him aside”, Azhar said, “Such reports would embarrass people.”

"It may be handiwork of some vested interests to malign my image," he said. Azharuddin however did not take any further questions, "I have nothing to add. I thought I should come out with the true version on this (Iftar party) and nothing else," he said. Gad officials were not available for comments.

The stylish Hyderabadi batsman was cynosure at the Iftar parties hosted by Majlis Ithehadul-Muslameen chief Salauddin Owasi, where he shared the table with Naidu on Dec 20 and was centre of attraction at Naidu's Iftar two days later. 

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 CBI to probe underworld mafia links of cricketers

New Delhi, December 26: CBI is not yet finished with the murky dealings in cricket and has now begun a full-fledged investigation into the "unholy" nexus between the underworld mafia and some of India's leading players and administrators.

Highly placed agency sources said a thorough probe to unravel a nexus between cricketers and underworld persons had been initiated and CBI had sought help from various other agencies in this connection.

The sources said CBI director R K Raghavan had held a series of meetings with the officials of other security and intelligence agencies for data on some of the underworld people. The probe into this nexus and its ramifications on the national security is being conducted both within India and abroad.

The sources said the agency, after completing the probe into the role of cricketers and bookies, would be now going deeper into the possible nexus of the underworld with cricket players and administrators.

They said even though the nexus had been unearthed during the agency's probe in the betting and match-fixing scandal, the dimensions were yet to be fully established.

Without disclosing any names, the sources said a "few Indian players" had links with the underworld that had been fairly established during earlier investigation.

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25th December

 Azharuddin to sue BCCI 

Mumbai, December 25:
Former Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin is likely to file a case against the BCCI in a Hyderabad court for holding him guilty of match-fixing and banning him from the game.

Speaking from his Delhi residence, former union minister H R Bharadwaj, who is Azhar’s legal advisor, said, “We have advised Azhar not to fight the case in Delhi as it would be inconvenient for him to come to Delhi often.” Bhardwaj added he asked Azhar to seek support from media as well.  

“Only that forum can protect him from an adverse public opinion. We have told him to come out in the open and express his grievances to the media,” he said. Bhardwaj feels Azhar’s case on the Arjuna Award issue is also strong. “How can the government take away achievements and awards won in the past?” he asked.

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24th December

 South Africa puts off match-fixing hearing 

Cape Town, December 24: The date of the resumption of the hearing of the King Commission inquiring into allegations of match fixing in South African cricket has once again been put off.

The Commission had scheduled to resume its hearing on January 25, 2001. This date is now likely to be on or after February 19, 2001. This development follows the success of the application by Hansie Cronje to the Cape High Court yesterday seeking a postponement of resumption of the Commission's hearing.

The petition charging the Commission of reneging on an agreement that it would consult with his lawyers before setting a date for the resumption of the hearing. The petition said January 25, 2001 was not suitable since his lawyers had other legal commitments on that day, and would not be free till February 19, 2001.

Opposing the petition, the Commission said the resumption of its hearing on the date scheduled would not prejudice Cronje and indeed his presence was not necessary since the witnesses scheduled to be called on that day were Mr. Ali Bacher, outgoing Managing Director of the UCBSA, and Mr. Ghulam Rajah, manger of the South African cricket team.

But Cronje's lawyers argued that their presence was necessary since evidence rendered by Mr. Bacher and Mr. Rajah could materially affect Cronje, in particular his expectation to secure indemnity from prosecution if he were to make full disclosure of his involvement in match-fixing.

In a related development, lawyers for Hansie Cronje have lodged a petition before the Pretoria High Court challenging the `life ban' imposed by the UCBSA on Cronje. The petition is to be opposed by the Board, according to a report by the South African Press Agency.

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23rd December

 Azharuddin and Jadeja may lose their Arjuna awards

New Delhi, December 23: The sports ministry is contemplating taking back the Arjuna awards conferred on Mohammed Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar, following their indictment in the cricket match-fixing scandal and has given each of them a fortnight to reply to its notices. Sports Minister Uma Bharti announced this in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, in reply to a series of queries on the subject. The action follows the CBI probe into match fixing and the decision by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to impose a ban on these three and a fourth player, Ajay Sharma. 

The action follows the CBI probe into match fixing and the decision by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to impose a ban on these three and a fourth player, Ajay Sharma. 
Bharti said the government did not want injustice to be done to anybody. Hence, it was giving an opportunity to the tainted players to air their viewpoints.

The minister said the law ministry had been asked about the practical and legal aspects of one or two players throwing matches as confessed by Azharuddin. The ministry has said the prosecution of Azharuddin and Jadeja is possible under the Prevention of Corruption Act, since they are also legally public servants. As for prosecution under gambling laws, the Union government can't do much as enforcement of that is with state governments.

Asked about the possibility of the government reducing the number of one-day matches to bring back glory to the game, Bharti said the BCCI was an autonomous body and it was free to take its own decision.   

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 Cronje forces delay in resumption of King Commission 

Cape Town, December 23:  Special thanks to a court ruling on Friday through which disgraced South African captain Hansie Cronje managed to postpone the resumption of the King Commission of Inquiry into match-fixing and corruption in the Cape High Court, presiding judge

Thembali Jali ruled that the Commission had breached its undertaking to consult with Cronje's legal team before deciding on a date for the second session of hearings. The first session ended in June.

Cronje's lawyers argued his legal team would not be available on January 25, the date announced for the resumption by judge Edwin King. They also argued the Commission had failed in its undertaking to consult them on the date for the resumption and on which witnesses would be called and in which order.

The lawyers said the Commission had been withholding vital information regarding the first witnesses to be called and accused Commission officials of preventing them from cross-questioning the witnesses effectively.

In response the Commission argued Cronje was not a criminal but merely a witness and therefore his attendance should not dictate the date for the resumption of hearings.

Judge Jali, however, ruled differently. "Mr. Cronje has a major interest in proceedings and is not merely a witness. He is the main player," he said in his judgment.

No date has been agreed upon for the resumption.

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19th December

 South Africans condemn the King’s Commission proposal 

Durban, December 19: South African cricket enthusiasts and commentators have strongly condemned the King Commission's proposals that the telephone numbers and e-mails of players and officials be monitored to fight match-fixing practices.

Justice Edwin King, probing corruption in South African cricket, in his second report submitted to President Thabo Mbeki, said the United Cricket Board (UCB) should monitor all player’s phone calls and e-mail messages because "up to now access to players has been too free and easy."

He said in the 19-page report that "only cellular telephones issued to players by the UCB should be allowed and details of calls made and received should be available so as to allow monitoring by the UCB."

He added, "Possession of an unauthorized mobile telephone should be a punishable offence."

A former official of the UCB and now a commentator M T S Patel said the proposals of Justice King would only isolate the players further from the cricket fans.

"While we need measures to combat match-fixing, we cannot isolate the players from the public," Patel said.

"Can you imagine what will happen if we isolate Jonty Rhodes from the public?

"We need cricket to be an open game and not some kind of a secret report," he said.

Peter Davis, editor of Sunday Tribune, said in an editorial yesterday that the mindset behind the proposals should be tested.

"These are cricketers, for goodness sake, not international assassins or spies or mafia money launderers," he said.

"That certain cricketers took money, apparently to fix matches, is sad for the credibility of the game and the fact that millions who watch via television are conned by their heroes - but it is only a game.''

"That a high court judge should suggest these sportsmen should lose their fundamental human rights because they may, in the future, again fall to the temptation of easy money shows a disregard for the rights of the individual - a trait we hope other judges will eschew."

Davis said there must be certain ways to discipline disreputable sportspersons without resorting to seemingly "James Bond-style tactics".

"The trouble is sport has become a contest to win at any cost. Most of us have forgotten what it is really about - to play the game to the best of one's ability, to foster and enjoy its spirit and to ensure fair play at all times," he said.  

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 ICC offices searched by corruption investigators 

London, Dec 19:  The International Cricket Council (ICC) disclosed that documents from its offices were handed over to the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), set up to investigate claims of cricket match-fixing.

In a statement, the ICC confirmed that the Anti-Corruption Unit, led by former London Metropolitan Police chief Sir Paul Condon, obtained documents from ICC offices in London and Monaco. The ACU was acting in advance of a request from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in India, which is compiling a report into allegations of malpractice in the awarding of TV rights in relation to the 1998 ICC Knockout Tournament.

Malcolm Gray, the ICC president, personally authorized access to the files, the statement said.

"The ICC is on record as offering the ACU free access to any of its records or documentation. In the spirit of that offer, we wanted to act responsibly and promptly to the ACU’s request," said Gray.

All documentation and records removed from the ICC offices at Lord's are being stored at the London offices of solicitors Simmons and Simmons, who act for the ICC.

Simmons and Simmons supported the ACU investigators in Monaco and have arranged for an independent legal firm to store documents in its Monaco office.

Gray replaced India's Jamoghan Dalmiya as ICC president. The Indian businessman's commercial dealings at the ICC, notably the awarding of TV deals have been the subject of much scrutiny.

After Dalmiya quit, Lord MacLaurin, the head of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said no future ICC chief should play such an active role in the game's business negotiations.

The request for information was triggered by discussions held by Sir Paul Condon and a team of international investigators with the CBI in India last week. At these talks, the CBI confirmed its TV rights investigation and the likelihood that records from the ICC would be required.

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18th December

 IT authorities to issue notices to cricket players 

New Delhi, Dec 17: IT authorities will be issuing notices to five cricket players including Kapil Dev and Ajay Jadeja for filing of block returns. The Assessing officer of Income Tax would be issuing notices to Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma, Ajay Jadeja and Nikhil Chopra whose appraisal reports had already been sent to him. The appraisal report of Kapil Dev would also be completed this week and sent to him.  

The appraisal report of Navjot Singh Sidhu has been sent to Ludhiana Directorate who would be issuing notice for submission of the block returns this week.

The IT sources said the appraisal report of former Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin had been also completed by the Hyderabad directorate and notice was likely to be issued to him soon.

Earlier, on July 20, IT officials had raided premises of cricketers including Kapil Dev, Jadeja, Ajay Sharma, Nikhil Chopra and Manoj Prabhakar (all in Delhi), Azharuddin (Hyderabad and Mumbai) and Navjot Sidhu (Patiala), former International Cricket Council Chief Jagmohan Dalmiya (Calcutta), Worldtel Chairman Mark Mascarenhas (Bangalore) and BCCI treasurer Kishore Rungta (Jaipur), besides some bookies.

The sources said this was the last opportunity for the players to clear themselves and defaulters would attract a fine of 100 to 300 per cent of the income involved.

About the bookies, the sources said their appraisal reports would be completed in another 10 days and sent to the Assessing officers for issuance of notices.

The Income Tax authorities had centralized the cases for players in Delhi and one Income Tax Commissioner would be assisted by two Assessing officers for speedy disposal of the cases, IT sources said.

Meanwhile, the CBI sources said it "would not act in haste" in prosecuting Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma, under the prevention of Corruption Act. The sources added that they would wait for the final report of the Income Tax authorities before initiating any action on the two cricketers.

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 Azharuddin undecided on moving court to challenge ban

Hyderabad, Dec 17: Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin, who was slapped with a life ban by the BCCI, is yet to decide on moving court to challenge its decision.

Former Union law minister H R Bharadwaj, who has been tendering legal advice to the tainted cricketer in the wake of the match-fixing scandal, said, ''I have been counselling Azharuddin from the time he was named one of the main players involved in fixing matches.''

Bharadwaj claimed that Azhar, who was initially reluctant to appear before BCCI's anti-corruption commissioner K. Madhavan, relented only after he advised him to do so.  

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17th December

 I'll go to BCCI first and the court next: Jadeja  

New Delhi, December 17: Disgraced cricketer Ajay Jadeja says he intends to appeal in court against his punishment after making his last-ditch appeal before the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Participating in Star TV's Janata Ki Adalat, Jadeja when questioned why he had not approached the courts if he was innocent, he said `that the CBI had not registered a case in court, if they had done so, we would have got an opportunity defend.

The CBI went to the board, who have made a code of conduct of their own and now they have announced a punishment and have given us a final chance to appeal. So I cannot approach the court yet, as I still have an appeal pending. The day my appeal is turned down, I will definitely go to court and fight for my case.

On charges about using political connections, Jadeja said, ''I would say I was punished only because the media highlighted my political connections. How do you say it is not a life ban for me? Some players don't play, others have retired, yet they have been given five year bans. What does this mean?''

Talking about his assets, Jadeja said, he had acquired these through honest means. ''Do you think we should not earn money? Nobody says the office in Defence Colony is a ‘barsati’. Only one of the 12 flats in Greater Kailash is mine, where I stay''

Of the house in Cyprus, Jadeja said, ‘‘it belongs to Jay Jadeja, of the royal family of Rajkot. He is a cousin and a director in my company.  The CBI says I do all illegal business in the Jay's name. He has a passport, lives and works in Cyprus and they (CBI) have said that house too is mine.''

Jadeja revealed that Azharuddin had told him during the Disciplinary Committee hearings, that he never told CBI that Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia had helped him to fix matches.

As for Kapil Dev having referred to Jadeja's "dubious" connections, he said, ''Kapil Dev ji ki vocabulary main 'dubious' word nahi ho sakta hai, unki english aisi nahi hai ki unhone life mein bhi aisa word use kiya ho. Of course he (Kapil Dev) often, advised me not to stay out late at night or go to discos, but he never told me, so and so is a bookie or a match-fixer.''

Jadeja said he did not know Kishan Kumar and had never spoken to him during matches. He acknowledged acquaintance with Rajesh Kalra and Ratan Mehta socially; whom he said visited the same health club and restaurants as him.  

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 Bookie paid $60,000 to Aravinda’s girl 

Mumbai, December 17: Sri Lanka’s leading cricketer Aravinda de Silva had asked Indian bookie Mukesh Kumar (MK) Gupta, also known as John, to deposit $60,000 with his Australian girl-friend. The infamous bookie obliged his ‘request’.

Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva are the two among world’s many other leading players named by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly accepting bribes from bookmaker Gupta to fix results of matches. Aravinda was not available for comments. However, sources close to the Lankan Board said Ranatunga and de Silva were seeking legal advice against the CBI for having dragged their names into the match-fixing scandal.

The Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) has given a month’s time to its anti-corruption commissioner Desmond Fernando to find out the truth. Fernando is a lawyer by profession and is also Lanka’s representative in the ICC’s Code of Conduct Committee, which has hardly met ever since the scandal broke out. Fernando is in India for investigation and his desire to meet MK was understandable. He has even contacted BCCI’s investigator K Madhavan and requested him to look into the possibility of tracing out Gupta in order to gather more evidence.

However, Madhavan could not invite M K Gupta for interrogation, as he did not fall under BCCI’s jurisdiction. The bookie is alleged to have close contacts with many Indian and international cricketers. 

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 Manoj Prabhakar's guard attacked 

New Delhi, December 17: A Security guard at the residence of former cricket all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar in South Delhi, was allegedly manhandled by a group of hooligans in the wee hours on Saturday. According to the guard Kanshi Ram Sharma, seven persons approached him at 2:15 am and enquired about Prabhakar and "threatened to kill me and my boss."

Sharma said when he tried to blow his whistle; the miscreants beat him before fleeing. Sharma has registered a complaint with the police. The police officials said, "We are looking into the matter."

The attack comes nearly a month after a group of Shiv Sainiks pelted stones at a beauty clinic run by Prabhakar's wife in South Delhi protesting against the cricketer's alleged involvement in match-fixing.

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16th December

Condon wants to meet Malik, Iqbal

Islamabad, Dec 16: ICC’s anti-corruption chief Sir Paul Condon has sought a meeting with former Pakistan skippers Salim Malik and Asif Iqbal in connection with the match-fixing scandal. However, Pakistan Cricket Board will scan Condon’s request in their emergency meeting after taking legal opinion from the board's lawyer.

Meanwhile PCB has informed Condon that they have no jurisdiction over Asif Iqbal and that he would have to examine Iqbal on his own initiative. Condon and his team were in India to meet the CBI and Indian cricket board officials to get information about non-Indian players mentioned in the CBI report on match-fixing. The names of Malik and Asif Iqbal figure in the report besides that of Alec Stewart, Martin Crowe, Dean Jones, Brian Lara, Mark Waugh, and others.

Malik, who is contemplating to settle in Canada, said he would first get his name cleared before thinking of migrating. Condon was keen to examine Malik not only on the basis of the CBI and Qayyum reports, but also since the British tabloid News of the World had handed over video and audio tape recordings to the unit, in which Malik claims to be a figurehead in the match-fixing racket. The interview was recorded this year in April in London when the tabloid sent its undercover reporters to meet the former captain as businessmen interested in fixing matches. 

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 Judge King not to hear evidence on Cronje until February 19 

Cape Town, Dec 16: Judge Edwin King, the head of a commission probing South Africa's cricket match-fixing scandal, agreed not to hear any evidence on Hansie Cronje until February 19. The judge, who has to resume public hearings into the scandal on January 25, has handed papers to the Cape High Court pledging to leave the disgraced captain out of it until the later date.

Cronje, who has been banned from cricket for life after admitting accepting thousands of dollars from bookmakers, said in before the court he could not afford to brief a new legal team. Cronje has also challenging the ban handed down by the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB) in court. 

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 Azhar says he is sick to CBI 

Hyderabad, December16:
Former Indian skipper Mohd Azharuddin, who has been banned for life from playing cricket, informed his employers State Bank of India on Friday that that he was sick and would not be able to report for duty, nearly two weeks after he was asked by the bank to resume duty.

Stating this, SBI chairman Janki Ballabh said that the bank was not contemplating any action against him unless "we receive any communication from any competent authority."

In reply to a question, he told reporters that it was a routine administrative affair to issue a notice to players, not in the national or regional squad to report for duty and we had done the same.

He said the bank would look into Azharuddin’s request and was in no hurry to pursue the matter.Asked if any action would be taken against Azharuddin in the wake of corruption charges against a public servant, Ballabh said "we have received no such direction from any competent authority. He continues to be our employee and unless we receive any communication from any competent authority our service rules do not authorise us to take any action." Ballabh said the bank would treat Azharuddin like any other employee.

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 Cricket criminals have a lot to fear: Condon 

London, December 16: Corrupt international cricketers were warned Friday they have much to fear as investigators arrived back in England from a fact-finding mission to India.

Sir Paul Condon, head of the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption team, claims he has a wealth of new information about alleged wrong-doings in the game following meetings with Indian police, politicians and officials.

The former head of the London police force said every player named in the 162-page Central Bureau of Investigation report two months ago will be interviewed in due course.

Condon refused to say if the material corroborated claims by Mukesh Kumar Gupta, the India bookmaker, that senior players including Alec Stewart and Brian Lara took money in exchange for information.

He would not be drawn either on whether English cricketers could be forced to take lie-detector tests as recommended in a new report by the King Commission which conducted the inquiry into the Hansie Cronje affair.

But Condon did say: "Cricketers who have been named and are innocent have absolutely nothing to fear from the investigations. "However, anyone who has been named and has done some thing that approximates to criminality has a lot to fear."

He added "We are determined to leave no stone unturned in investigating these allegations, but equally players should not be condemned without evidence being available.

"There is new evidence available to support our investigations, and the immediate task is to make an assessment of its content." 

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 ACB rejects player phone tap plan

Adelaide, Australia, Dec 16: Australian cricket officials Friday rejected South African suggestions players' phone calls should be monitored and undercover agents employed in a bid to stamp out match-fixing.

The judge investigating the Hansie Cronje match-fixing saga in South Africa, Edwin King, included the measures among a list of options in an interim report as part of his probe into corruption in cricket.

Australian Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive Malcolm Speed said Australian players would not take kindly to being approached by an undercover person making offers to them to become involved in corruption, which was one of the proposals contained in the report.

"I think when you go through the menu of options there are some that the Australian Cricket Board is already doing, there are some that the Australian Cricket Board would consider and there are some that are really inappropriate in the Australian environment of where we're placed in relation to this issue," Speed told reporters during the third Test against the West Indies here.

"I think the suggestion that we should place a mole or someone in the Australian cricket team to make offers to Australian players to behave inappropriately or to act in a corrupt manner - I believe that's inappropriate.

"With the current mindset of the Australian cricket team, any person who came in and did that would be at serious risk of physical injury if that were to happen. We would not consider that."

Judge King's report said the United Cricket Board of South Africa should issue cellular phones to players and monitor all calls and e-mail messages.

Possession of an unauthorised phone should be a punishable offence, the report said.

Speed said there could be legal problems in Australia with phone tapping and room and baggage searches.

But he said a formal ethics committee, consisting of players and management was a good idea.

"This list of options has been suggested. We'll work our way through it, we'll work out those that do appeal to us," he said.

"When we reach that stage, we'll address the legality of them." Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Tim May said monitoring phone calls was an unnecessary invasion of players' rights.

"There are obviously players' rights and privacy rights that must be observed," May said.

"The important thing here is that we find a balance between the players' rights and the rights of cricket officials to fight match fixing."

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15th December

 Cronje’s lawyers won the legal argument  

Cape Town, Dec 15: Disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje’s lawyer have won a legal argument over the resumption of the King Commission inquiry into cricket corruption. Cronje's personal attorney, Les Sackstein, lodged an urgent application with the Cape High Court, demanding a review of the Commission's intention to resume hearings next January 24. The application was based on legal protocol, as Sackstein believed he and his team had not been given sufficient warning of the resumption.

Counsel for the Commission agreed they would not deal with any matters concerning Cronje until February 19, the date on which the former captain's legal representatives said they would be ready to attend.  Michael Edmunds, instructing attorney for Cronje, said that until that date, the Commission had agreed to stick to general inquiries.  

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14th December

 Criminal case registered against Azhar and Jadeja

Rajkot, Dec 14: A criminal case has been registered by police against former Indian skipper Mohammad Azaharuddin and batsman Ajay Jadeja for cheating and criminal conspiracy for allegedly fixing the one-day cricket match between India and South Africa, played in the city in 1996. The case was registered, on a complaint lodged by a spectator, under two separate sections of IPC 420 and 120-B. The commissioner of police Sudhir Sinha said that investigations would be conducted after a detailed study of CBI and Madhavan Committee reports on match fixing and if they are found guilty, legal action would be initiated. 

Sanjay Vyas, the complainant, an advocate by profession, in his FIR said that by fixing the Rajkot match played on October 29, 1996 both the senior players had cheated the spectators, who had come to enjoy a fair game. 

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 Marsh quit as national selector to take up consulting role with BCCI

Sydney, Dec 14: Former Australian opener Geoff Marsh quit Wednesday as a national selector to take up a consulting role with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

David Boon, Australia’s fourth highest Test run-scorer with 7,422 runs, who currently works for the Tasmanian Cricket Association, replaced him. Marsh had been a front-runner to take over as the first foreign coach of the Indian cricket team but the job instead went to New Zealander John Wright. 

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 Man arrested in match-fixing investigation

LONDON, Dec 14: British police, investigating the alleged attempted bribery of former cricket international Chris Lewis, arrested a 33-year-old London man. Police were called in to investigate allegations of match fixing on August 3 last year when a player contacted the England and Wales Cricket board (ECB). It emerged that the player was former England bowler Lewis, who claimed he had been asked to approach players and offer them money in return for throwing a Test match in England in 1999 angainst New Zealand at Old Trafford, Manchester.

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 Co-ordinated efforts to eradicate match-fixing : Condon 

New Delhi, Dec 14: International Cricket Council's anti-corruption Director Sir Paul Condon today said it was the duty of all cricket playing nations to carry forward the investigations from where the Central Bureau of Investigations had left it.

"We will take foward the investigations from here and ensure co-ordinated efforts to remove the menace of betting and match-fixing in cricket," Sir Paul said. Earlier in the day, Condon met Union Sports Minister Uma Bharti, who described the meeting as a purely "courtsey call".

Condon made it clear that after amassing "huge evidence" against some foreign players, ICC would "further probe" into the role of these cricketers named by CBI of either having received or offered money by the bookies.

Besides Condon, the other members including Martin Hawkins and Bob Samanney (both from ICC), Desmond Fernando from Sri Lanka, Australia's Greg Melick and Tim Gresson (New Zealand), met the CBI officials headed by Joint Director of agency's Special Crime Branch R N Sawani and reviewed the evidence against the foreign players.

Commending the CBI report, ICC anti-corrpution Director said "the CBI report was a significant step forward in the fight against corrpution in cricket and I congratulate CBI on its thoroughness and professionalism."

Condon made it clear that ICC would not leave any "stone unturned" in investigating these allegations. "But equally players should not be condemned without evidence being available. As a result, we have been working to establish whether this evidence can be uncovered."

He said ICC would be coming out with suggestions on how to stop this menace and in this connection a two-member ICC team had gone to South Africa and had interviewed sacked skipper Hansie Cronje.

Condon said, however, in the present world where live matches and internet was present, it would be difficult to completely stop the menace.

The 162-page CBI report on betting and match-fixing names ex-captains Alec Stewart (England), Brian Lara (West Indies), Hansie Cronje (South Africa), Arjuna Ranatunga and Arvinda D'Silva (Sri Lanka), Martin Crowe (New Zealand) and Asif Iqbal and Salim Malik (Pakistan). Apart from the former skippers, the names of two more Australian players Mark Waugh and Dean Jones also figured in the CBI report.

Sri Lankan Cricket Board special investigator Desmond Fernando, who is on his second trip to India in relation to the case, said the Boards of all the countries were basing their investigations on CBI's findings.

"Each of the Boards who have players named in CBI report are taking the allegations very seriously. The most effective way forward is through the sharing of information and agreement to a co-ordinated approach," he said. "My investigations will continue on this basis."

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13th December

 Madhavan meets Chopra

Chennai, Dec 13: The Indian off-spinner Nikhil Chopra, who has been kept out of the matches against Zimbabwe, as the BCCI wanted his name cleared from the match-fixing controversy, was on Tuesday questioned by the BCCI's anti-corruption commissioner K. Madhavan. Chopra was questioned from 10 am to 12.30 pm. Talking to the media after the questioning Madhavan said that he would submit his report on Chopra “very soon.”

About the questioning of the former Indian captain and coach Kapil Dev and the Indian manager Ajit Wadekar, Madhavan said that he hoped to wind-up the investigation by January 31. Earlier, talking to the media before meeting Madhavan, Chopra said: "I am not guilty and I hope I will be cleared.''  It may be recalled that the CBI in its report did not find any evidence against Chopra. However, the BCCI had insisted on Madhavan investigate other Informations and clear his name. The same was the case with Kapil Dev and Wadekar.

The questioning was an effort to clear Chopra's name so that he is able to continue with cricket, if not found guilty. Chopra was first named in the 14-member Indian team against Zimbabwe, but it was later withdrawn by the BCCI.  

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 ICC team meets CBI officials

New Delhi, Dec 13: A six-member delegation from three countries led by International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-corruption director Sir Paul Condon on Tuesday met CBI officials to assess the role of foreign players named by the agency in its report on betting and match-fixing. Besides Condon, the other members included Martin Hawkins and Bob Samanney (both from ICC), Desmond Fernando from Sri Lanka, Greg Melick from Australia and Tim Gargreson from New Zealand.

They met the CBI officials headed by joint director of agency's special crime branch R N Sawani and reviewed the evidence against the foreign players.

The 162-page CBI report on betting and match-fixing names ex-captains Alec Stewart (England), Brian Lara (West Indies), Hansie Cronje (South Africa), Arjuna Ranatunga and Arvinda d'Silva (Sri Lanka), Martin Crowe (New Zealand) and Asif Iqbal and Salim Malik (Pakistan). Apart from the former skippers, the names of two more Australian players Mark Waugh and Dean Jones figured in the CBI report. The two sides discussed the issue for almost three hours. Emerging out of the meeting, Condon refused to make any comment and said “we will comment on the issue tomorrow.” Meanwhile, CBI sources said the delegation enquired about the methods adopted by the agency in collecting evidence against the foreign players .

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12th December

 Condon praises CBI and Madhavan

Chennai, Dec 12: The ICC anti-corruption director Sir Paul Condon on Monday praised the work done by the CBI and the one-man Madhavan commission in connection with the match-fixing scandal. Addressing the media here, Condon said that he was thoroughly impressed with the CBI and Madhavan's work.

“The CBI investigation has been very thorough and very professional. There are allegations against some cricket players. It is for the cricketing world to clear their role,” Sir Condon said, pointing out that the CBI's role ends with the investigation of match fixing, which did not involve investigation of the players.

“With the CBI report we have seen a major step forward in the fight against corruption in cricket and I congratulate the team on its thoroughness and professionalism,” he further said and went on to added: “Our task now is to follow up on allegations and gather evidence in areas over which the CBI has no jurisdiction - namely the non-Indian players. We will be meeting with key figures from the BCCI and the CBI. With their help, we are looking forward to moving our global investigation forward.”

He said that his role was only to investigate on the malpractices and corruption and not decide on the punishment. He would give his findings and remedial recommendations to the head of ICC's Code of Conduct, Lord Griffits, who along with a panel of judges drawn from different countries would decide on the code of conduct and suggest disciplinary action on the erring players. Sir Condon arrived here on Sunday morning to join three other members of his team - Australian Cricket Board (ACB) special Investigator Greg Melick, New Zeealand's Tim Gresson and Sri Lanka's Desmond Fernando. Condon has already met the BCCI President A.C. Muthiah and Madhavan on Sunday night. The team left for Delhi on Monday evening to meet ministers and senior officials of the Union government, CBI and police officials. He would return to London on Wednesday.

He repeatedly pointed out that he was not in India to investigate the players, but to assess the investigating process to look into the malpractices. He also said that the individual countries in keeping with their law would decide the punishment and judgment on the players. The ACU would co-ordinate with the countries accordingly. He said that the ambition is to wipe out such malpractices from the world cricket before the World Cup in South Africa in 2003.

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11th December

Madhavan to question Kapil, Chopra, Wadekar

Chennai, Dec 11: Cricket board's anti-corruption commissioner K Madhavan would examine former Indian cricket team coaches Ajit Wadekar and Kapil Dev and off-spinner Nikhil Chopra in the match-fixing and betting allegations.

Madhavan, who is in Chennai to hold discussions with International Cricket Council investigation team led by Sir Paul Condon on Monday, told media persons that "I will submit my observations on Chopra to board within three days." He said though the CBI had cleared Wadekar, Kapil Dev and Chopra, board (after its November 29 special general body meeting in Calcutta) had advised him to examine them for any further information on match-fixing allegations. On punishments meted out to Mohd Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma (life ban) and Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar (five year ban), he said “I was assigned to examine them and found them guilty. I have nothing to say on punishments”. On the players seeking legal redress, Madhavan said, "It is left to them".

Cordon and five other officers of the ICC and Madhavan are to hold discussions with board president A C Muthiah at an undisclosed venue. Madhavan said, “We are meeting Muthiah for sure this evening. But I don't know the place.”Condon, a former London police chief, is likely to meet the press on Monday afternoon before he leaves for Delhi. The ICC team arrived here this morning for investigations in the wake of board sanctions against tainted cricketers last week following a probe on match-fixing by the CBI and an internal inquiry by Madhavan. 

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 Cronje lawyers ready to fight it out for him 

Johannesburg, Dec 11: Disgraced former South African captain Hansie Cronje intensified efforts to have his life ban overturned, when his lawyers served papers on the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) applying for an interdict to block the decision. Cronje's attorney, Les Sackstein, said that the UCBSA's action in banning the cricketer for life was “impeachable, unconstitutional and unlawful. We simply believe that they (UCBSA) cannot deprive a man of his right to earn a living”.

“Mr Cronje has admitted that he did something very wrong and he will not do it again. He has been brutally treated by the media and now the same is happening from the board, he has the right to get on with the rest of his life,” Sackstein said.

"We would rather negotiate than litigate but (UCBSA president) Percy Sonn has refused to speak to us and even claimed that Mr. Cronje should not be allowed to play beach cricket. That is one of the many issues included in our papers, which run to over a hundred pages.

“He has had four offers of coaching work from schools and other institutions but has had to turn them all down. Can you imagine anything more ghastly?” Justifying the move to apply for an interdict against the life ban, Sackstein said Cronje had complied fully with the King Commission charged with investigating corruption in South African cricket when he testified in June this year.

UCBSA spokeswoman Bronwyn Wilkinson issued a short statement saying: “We can confirm that the UCB has received papers from Mr. Cronje's attorneys. The General Council of the UCBSA has instructed their legal team to oppose the action.”  

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10th December

 Azhar part ways with his lawyer Jethmalani

Mumbai, December 9: After the BCCI’s life ban on Azharuddin, the former Indian captain now finds himself without any legal counsel after parting ways with lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani.

However, that doesn’t have anything to do with the BCCI’s life ban on Azhar, says Mr. Jethmalani. The Mumbai based lawyer says he stopped working for Azhar some time back, “just after the Central Bureau of Investigation report came out.”

“I was hired by Azharuddin to advise him on prosecution. He was planning to sue a few publications and Tehelka.com for implying that he was involved in match-fixing. “We never went ahead and filed any cases because I told him to wait for the CBI to prosecute the case and come out with its report,” said Mr. Jethmalani.

The cricketer also planned to sue MacDonald’s for an advertisement slogan for its ice-cream, saying, “Azhar Ne Bhi Khaya Hai”. He added, “I was never hired to defend Azhar. That was never the understanding.”

According to some reports, Mr. Jethmalani was sacked by Azharuddin for advising him to play up the communal card as defence — a move that backfired on the cricketer.

“On the contrary, I was the one who censured him for making that stupid minority statement that got him into trouble. I was away in London at the time, and read about the statement in newspapers. “I immediately called up Azhar and asked him to retract the statement,” said Mr. Jethmalani.

 “I don’t know whether Azhar plans to appeal, as I have not been in touch with him since we parted ways. However, I think he should hire a Delhi lawyer for his case. I can’t take up his case as I am based in Mumbai.” Mr. Jethmalani said.

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9th December

 CBI can find more dirt if they are willing to: Ali Irani 

Mumbai, Dec 9: Banned Indian cricket team physio Ali Irani has said that he fixed muscles and joints and not matches and if CBI further pursued its investigation it would be able to nail more people as guilty. “The more CBI investigates the betting and match-fixing scandal, the more dirt they will find,” Irani said. He expressed his dissatisfaction over Madhavan’s report to the Cricket Board (BCCI) saying the report at the end just said the CBI version was correct and there was nothing new there.

“If it is (report) right and if they have a conscience, then many more will be found guilty and for that to happen they should continue investigating,” he added. “Maybe I was blamed because I was nice to everybody. That my services were sought by the Board for 10 years only proves that I was good at my job,” Irani said. “I fixed muscles and joints, not cricket matches and this ban (5 years) does not concern me as I left the team in 1997 and I am through with cricket for now,” Irani added. “I see nearly 200 patients everyday and I have no time to think about anything. My patients, including many sportsmen and stars, have been my strength. I have no intentions of going to the court to challenge the verdict as I prefer going to ‘janata’ (people’s) court,” he said. “Let me place the facts before the people and let them judge my case because now the people are under the impression that each time a match was fixed, Dr Ali Irani was the go between which is not true. I will definitely appeal to the Board as the Board is still the parent body,” he added.

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8th December

 Azhar got away with  a light punishment: Border

December 8, 2000: Former Australian great and the highest run getter in test cricket, Allan Border said that the former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin has got off lightly for his role in match fixing scandal. He said, that if Azhar had committed his crime in another walk of life, he would be behind bars. Azharuddin was banned for life by BCCI for indulging in match fixing.

“ If he is guilty, which it seems as though he is, then he is lucky not to be in jail”, Border said while speaking to ABC radio. “ if you did that in the normal walk of life, in a normal business practice, then you would find yourself ten years in the clink.” Border added that he had nothing personal against Azharuddin, whom he played against many times during his 156 test match career. “ I like him as a fellow and to see him involved is shattering. He said. He went on to add that life ban was not a severe punishment because “at 38 Azhar is finished anyway.”   

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 Morarka criticizes board's decision

Jodhpur, Dec 8: Cricket board vice-president Kamal Morarka lashed out at the action taken by the board against guilty players terming it "hasty" and the whole procedure "jerky". “There was undue haste in hanging the players,” Morarka, who did not attend the disciplinary committee meeting in Chennai on Tuesday, said.

Morarka, who was openly against players being punished, reserved his comments on the quantum of punishment meted out the players. “They (board) should have weighed the pros and cons before announcing their decision. However, their decision is like a judgment of the court and unless I read this judgment, I can not comment on it,” Morarka, also the vice president of Rajasthan Cricket Board, said. 

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 Ali Irani stays silent

Mumbai, Dec 8: Former Indian cricket team Physio Dr Ali Irani, who has been banned by the cricket board for five years in the match-fixing scandal, refused to speak to media persons even as his staff and colleagues at the Nanavati hospital insisted, “he is a fine doctor and a good human being”.

The MD of the Nanavati hospital, Dr Mika Joseph said here on Thursday, “Irani has worked here for the last 13 years. He is a fine doctor and a good human being and I think we are lucky to have him with us”. “The physiotherapy department is one of our best and you can speak to his patients who refuse to believe or leave him,” he added. Queried whether any action would be taken in the wake of the ban, Dr Joseph said “no comments”.

Dr Ashok Hatolkar, a colleague of Irani, said “we have full faith in him because he is still as good a doctor today as he was last night. I don't think just one news flash would change anything”. “Even assuming the charges are true, it will amount to an economic offence and Irani's competence as a doctor is beyond reproach,” he said. Though Irani was busy with his patients in the hospital, his secretary said he will not meet any reporters and "we have standing instructions not to let the media in". 

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7th December

 Azhar banned for life, Jadeja suspended for 5 years

Chennai, Dec 5: Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma have been given life bans from participating in any form of cricket. Ajay Jadeja, Prabhakar and Ali Irani were given a suspension of five years. Nayan Mongia and Delhi grounds man Ram Adhar were exonerated. The board’s disciplinary committee reduced to the duo of board President A. C. Muthiah and Mr. K. A. Ramprasad spent more than three hours before announcing the verdict. The meeting was held in the boardroom of SPIC, a company that Mr. Muthiah heads. 

“To avoid any further criticism, the board has decided to give a firm and final verdict”. Mr. Muthiah said, while announcing it. The player’s contribution was taken into contribution while coming to a decision. But they added that the players conducted themselves in a manner, which is prejudicial to the interests of the game of cricket. All the cricketers, who have been given these punishments and Ali Irani, will not be eligible for an official benefit match or the money that has accrued to their respective benevolent funds managed by the board.

BCCI President Mr. Muthiah said “the decision has the backing of all of the entire board and the best legal opinion has assured me that whatever decision we will take will stand in court, since these people had violated the code of conduct of the BCCI”. He denied reports that the Board had been pressured to spare Jadeja and observed that the two postponements in arriving at a decision could have sparked such speculation. The cricket chief also clarified since Nikhil Chopra had not been cleared by the BCCI of the charges made by the CBI, his selection to the Indian team is not correct. Mr. Madhavan is to examine Chopra later.

The Board has allowed the players and Irani to appeal to it against the punishment awarded to them.  

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 Punishment given to me is unfortunate: Prabhakar 

New Delhi, Dec 6: Former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar came down heavily on BCCI for "equating" him with Ajay Jadeja against whom there were "far graver allegations and findings" and said he expected a "better reward" for having blown the lid of the match-fixing scandal. Prabhakar has been given a suspension for five years.

Prabhakar said board's anti-corruption commissioner K Madhavan and CBI found no evidence against him of receiving money from bookies or of under-performance. “The only count on which I have been found guilty by Mr. Madhavan is of having contact with bookies,” he said and claimed that those contacts were made for purposes of investigation “long after I had retired from competitive cricket.” Prabhakar described the punishment meted out to him as "unfortunate."

“Yet, no matter what board does now, I believe my efforts to bring match-fixing to light have paid off,” Prabhakar added. ICC team fails again: Prabhakar again refused to meet the International Cricket Council team here on Tuesday after saying no on Monday also.

The former cricketer asked the the three-member investigating team to probe bookie MK (Mukesh Gupta) and ``satisfy themselves'' with his deposition as was done by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Prabhakar insisted that he would be available for examination only if the board officials are present with the ICC team. Meanwhile, the ICC officials are deciding on their future course of action. Former Delhi captain Ajay Sharma also declined to talk to the team. The team is also scheduled to question Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Nayan Mongia and Ali Irani.

Meanwhile, Prabhakar alleged that it was a board member who had introduced him to the betting syndicate. He refused to name the member and also the time and place.  

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 Five years is as good as a life ban for me: Jadeja 

New Delhi, Dec 6: Ajay Jadeja seemed very upset and hurt after BCCI announced its verdict, in which he was suspended for five years. Ajay Jadeja said his career was as good as over. “For someone like me, a ban of five years is as good as a ban for life,” he told a television channel late tonight. “I know I have recourse to appeal, but for all practical purposes, my career is over if the sentence is final.”

He went on to add: “After five years, I will have no career left.” Jadeja however, made it clear that he would appeal the committee's verdict wherever possible. “I am going to fight this all the way. I have a right to appeal this sentence. It is the only other option left to me. What else can I do?”

“I will go back and appeal to the Board first. That is all that is left to me. I will fight the verdict in every arena I can - all the way, everywhere.”

On being asked about the suspected links with bookies and punters, which eventually led to action being taken against him, Jadeja defended himself saying, "I told the CBI, I told Mr. Madhavan (the BCCI's Vigilance Commissioner), I told the committee as well whatever I had to say. I came back from each meeting thinking that I had explained everything to them. Yet, they have come to their own conclusions”.

“One of the contacts I am supposed to have is Rattan Mehta. I am told there are records linking me to him. But if you go by these records, I have always been in touch with him when I have been in Delhi. In any case, when the Pakistan team was here last year, the only place they were allowed to go was his restaurant (in Delhi's posh Vasant Vihar area). Why was that so? What was the standard then, and what is it now when it comes to my links with him?”

Jadeja however, avoided a straight answer to a question of why Mohammed Azharuddin - who was today handed a life ban by the same committee, and probably the biggest casualty in the process - had named him. “I don't blame anybody. And when it comes to that I think I am the biggest casualty. Azhar is 38 and he could have stopped playing whenever he wanted. Manoj Prabhakar is out of the game so the one who is really affected is me. My career is as good as over.”

Asked if had any regrets and if he would do anything different than he had over the last five years, Jadeja retorted: "If I look back today, yes, I definitely have regrets. I have always done my best for them (the Board) and if this is what I get after that, and if they don't want me, neither do I want to play for them any more.”  

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 An inglorious end to Azhar and Jadeja’s career

December 6, 2000: After playing in 331 internationals, Mohammed Azharuddin's cricketing career came to an inglorious end with the Cricket Board slapping a life ban on him. It may be curtains for Jadeja as well as he has got a five-year ban. The Board has allowed the punished players to appeal and unless its decision is overturned, Azhar, who had played 99 Test matches, will not get an opportunity to play the 100th Test. Jadeja, who is already 29, is unlikely to be able to stage a comeback to the national side after five years. Of the others, Manoj Prabhakar has already retired from both international and domestic cricket and Ajay Sharma is also at the fag end of his career in the domestic circuit. Jadeja had earlier this year led India in the one-day series at home against South Africa following which Delhi Police booked a case of match-fixing based on taped conversations between disgraced South African captain Hansie Cronje and some bookies.  

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 BCCI decision arbitrary and discriminatory: Ajay Sharma

New Delhi, Dec 6: Former Delhi captain Ajay Sharma, who has been banned for life by Cricket Board for his involvement in betting and match fixing, described the decision as arbitrary and discriminatory. “On the face of it, the decision of BCCI is arbitary and discriminatory,” Ajay Sharma told the reporters.

Sharma said he was waiting for the detailed order of BCCI Disciplinary Committee before consulting his lawyer for further steps. “I will be able to say anything only after receiving the detail order of BCCI," he said when asked to comment on his reaction to BCCI decision. 

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6th December

Azhar banned for life, Jadeja suspended for 5 years

Chennai, Dec 5: Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma have been given life bans from participating in any form of cricket. Ajay Jadeja, Prabhakar and Ali Irani were given a suspension of five years. Nayan Mongia and Delhi grounds man Ram Adhar were exonerated. The board’s disciplinary committee reduced to the duo of board President A. C. Muthiah and Mr. K. A. Ramprasad spent more than three hours before announcing the verdict. The meeting was held in the boardroom of SPIC, a company that Mr. Muthiah heads. 

“To avoid any further criticism, the board has decided to give a firm and final verdict”. Mr. Muthiah said, while announcing it. The player’s contribution was taken into contribution while coming to a decision. But they added that the players conducted themselves in a manner, which is prejudicial to the interests of the game of cricket. All the cricketers, who have been given these punishments and Ali Irani, will not be eligible for an official benefit match or the money that has accrued to their respective benevolent funds managed by the board.

BCCI President Mr. Muthiah said “the decision has the backing of all of the entire board and the best legal opinion has assured me that whatever decision we will take will stand in court, since these people had violated the code of conduct of the BCCI”. He denied reports that the Board had been pressured to spare Jadeja and observed that the two postponements in arriving at a decision could have sparked such speculation. The cricket chief also clarified since Nikhil Chopra had not been cleared by the BCCI of the charges made by the CBI, his selection to the Indian team is not correct. Mr. Madhavan is to examine Chopra later.

The Board has allowed the players and Irani to appeal to it against the punishment awarded to them. 

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 Punishment given to me is unfortunate: Prabhakar 

New Delhi, Dec 6: Former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar came down heavily on BCCI for "equating" him with Ajay Jadeja against whom there were "far graver allegations and findings" and said he expected a "better reward" for having blown the lid of the match-fixing scandal. Prabhakar has been given a suspension for five years.

Prabhakar said board's anti-corruption commissioner K Madhavan and CBI found no evidence against him of receiving money from bookies or of under-performance. “The only count on which I have been found guilty by Mr. Madhavan is of having contact with bookies,” he said and claimed that those contacts were made for purposes of investigation “long after I had retired from competitive cricket.” Prabhakar described the punishment meted out to him as "unfortunate."

“Yet, no matter what board does now, I believe my efforts to bring match-fixing to light have paid off,” Prabhakar added. ICC team fails again: Prabhakar again refused to meet the International Cricket Council team here on Tuesday after saying no on Monday also.

The former cricketer asked the the three-member investigating team to probe bookie MK (Mukesh Gupta) and ``satisfy themselves'' with his deposition as was done by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Prabhakar insisted that he would be available for examination only if the board officials are present with the ICC team. Meanwhile, the ICC officials are deciding on their future course of action. Former Delhi captain Ajay Sharma also declined to talk to the team. The team is also scheduled to question Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Nayan Mongia and Ali Irani.

Meanwhile, Prabhakar alleged that it was a board member who had introduced him to the betting syndicate. He refused to name the member and also the time and place. 

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 Five years is as good as a life ban for me: Jadeja 

New Delhi, Dec 6: Ajay Jadeja seemed very upset and hurt after BCCI announced its verdict, in which he was suspended for five years. Ajay Jadeja said his career was as good as over. “For someone like me, a ban of five years is as good as a ban for life,” he told a television channel late tonight. “I know I have recourse to appeal, but for all practical purposes, my career is over if the sentence is final.”

He went on to add: “After five years, I will have no career left.” Jadeja however, made it clear that he would appeal the committee's verdict wherever possible. “I am going to fight this all the way. I have a right to appeal this sentence. It is the only other option left to me. What else can I do?”

“I will go back and appeal to the Board first. That is all that is left to me. I will fight the verdict in every arena I can - all the way, everywhere.”

On being asked about the suspected links with bookies and punters, which eventually led to action being taken against him, Jadeja defended himself saying, "I told the CBI, I told Mr. Madhavan (the BCCI's Vigilance Commissioner), I told the committee as well whatever I had to say. I came back from each meeting thinking that I had explained everything to them. Yet, they have come to their own conclusions”.

“One of the contacts I am supposed to have is Rattan Mehta. I am told there are records linking me to him. But if you go by these records, I have always been in touch with him when I have been in Delhi. In any case, when the Pakistan team was here last year, the only place they were allowed to go was his restaurant (in Delhi's posh Vasant Vihar area). Why was that so? What was the standard then, and what is it now when it comes to my links with him?”

Jadeja however, avoided a straight answer to a question of why Mohammed Azharuddin - who was today handed a life ban by the same committee, and probably the biggest casualty in the process - had named him. “I don't blame anybody. And when it comes to that I think I am the biggest casualty. Azhar is 38 and he could have stopped playing whenever he wanted. Manoj Prabhakar is out of the game so the one who is really affected is me. My career is as good as over.”

Asked if had any regrets and if he would do anything different than he had over the last five years, Jadeja retorted: "If I look back today, yes, I definitely have regrets. I have always done my best for them (the Board) and if this is what I get after that, and if they don't want me, neither do I want to play for them any more.”  

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 An inglorious end to Azhar and Jadeja’s career

December 6, 2000: After playing in 331 internationals, Mohammed Azharuddin's cricketing career came to an inglorious end with the Cricket Board slapping a life ban on him. It may be curtains for Jadeja as well as he has got a five-year ban. The Board has allowed the punished players to appeal and unless its decision is overturned, Azhar, who had played 99 Test matches, will not get an opportunity to play the 100th Test. Jadeja, who is already 29, is unlikely to be able to stage a comeback to the national side after five years. Of the others, Manoj Prabhakar has already retired from both international and domestic cricket and Ajay Sharma is also at the fag end of his career in the domestic circuit. Jadeja had earlier this year led India in the one-day series at home against South Africa following which Delhi Police booked a case of match-fixing based on taped conversations between disgraced South African captain Hansie Cronje and some bookies. 

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 BCCI decision arbitrary and discriminatory: Ajay Sharma

New Delhi, Dec 6: Former Delhi captain Ajay Sharma, who has been banned for life by Cricket Board for his involvement in betting and match fixing, described the decision as arbitrary and discriminatory. “On the face of it, the decision of BCCI is arbitary and discriminatory,” Ajay Sharma told the reporters.

Sharma said he was waiting for the detailed order of BCCI Disciplinary Committee before consulting his lawyer for further steps. “I will be able to say anything only after receiving the detail order of BCCI," he said when asked to comment on his reaction to BCCI decision. 

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Corruption investigator to have talks with BCCI 

London, Dec  Paul Condon, head of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-corruption Unit and the Australian Cricket Board's (ACB) special investigator Greg Melick are flying to India to follow up the Central Bureau of Investigation report's allegations of malpractice.

The pair will hold two days of talks with Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials, senior Indian Government officials and the chief officer of the New Delhi Police. The announcement was made at the conclusion of a meeting here Tuesday.

“Today's (Tuesday) talks were a private exchange of information and an update of current status concerning ongoing investigations into the CBI report,” said Condon, the former head of London's Metropolitan Police. “As a result of this both Greg Melick and myself are going to India to seek further information relating to the allegations that have been made against overseas cricketers”.

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5th December

BCCI to decide player’s fate on Tuesday 

New Delhi, December 5: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will decide the fate of Indian cricketers guilty of match fixing on Tuesday, a source close to board president A.C. Mutiah said. “As of now there is no meeting scheduled for Monday,” the source told Reuters from the southern city of Madras. “A board meeting should take place on Tuesday where a final decision will be made.”

The BCCI has to come to a decision on the punishment that would be given to the tainted players, namely Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar, Nayan Mongia and Ajay Sharma, all named for fixing matches in a report compiled by Indian federal investigators.

K. Madhavan, a former joint director in India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) who was appointed by the BCCI to look into the government report, has said there was evidence of Azharuddin's involvement in match fixing. The other players had links with bookmakers but may not have fixed matches, he said.

Muthiah has promised strict punishment against the guilty. He said last week that Azharuddin had denied the match-fixing allegation before the BCCI's disciplinary panel.

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 Speculation rises as BCCI delays its decision 

New Delhi, Dec 5: As the BCCI delays its decision on the tainted players, there is a strong possibility that the punishments ranging from two or three years of suspension and ban for life are on the cards.

A C Muthiah, president of the board and chairman of the committee, and board vice-presidents Kamal Morarka and K N Ram Prasad would decide on the punishments to be meted out to the five - Mohammed Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Nayan Mongia, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Sharma - cricketers found guilty by CBI in the wake of match-fixing allegations.

Morarka said on Monday evening he would attend the meeting, contrary to information available in Chennai. He has also made it clear that he is not in favor of giving out strict punishment.  Though there was no confirmation on hand, the sources say there could be a life ban on Azharuddin and two or three years of suspension on Jadeja, Prabhakar and Sharma, the last named might also invite a life ban.

There is speculation that there is a lot of pressure on the board members by the indicted cricketers and also by some members of the board, who are politically connected. The sources confirmed that the board president had sought legal opinion from reputed Supreme Court counsels in case the ‘punished players’ went in for legal remedy.

Asked to comment how fair but strict the punishments would be, the sources said “if a retired player is let go scot-free, he could continue to involve himself in misconduct and if a current player is not punished, the cancer will spread to others in the present team”. According to the sources, the banned or suspended players would not be involved in Indian cricket in any manner and also they would forfeit their benefit matches.

“We cannot hold back the money of these players lying with the board,” the sources said.

Morarka said in Mumbai that he was not particularly concerned about defending Ajay Jadeja as mentioned in a section of the media but about the larger issue of ensuring fair justice. The sources said it is not known whether board secretary Jaywant Lele, who is the convener for all sub-committees of the board, would be attending the Chennai meeting on Tuesday. The board president and the members of the committee have decided to issue a ‘press statement’ after they decide the quantum of punishment at the meeting.

Borde's ignorance: Meanwhile, chief of selectors Chandu Borde tried to wriggle out of an embarrassing situation on the vexed issue of Nikhil Chopra's inclusion in the home side.

"Mr Muthiah himself must issue a directive about Chopra", he said when grilled on the subject. "According to board protocol the BCCI secretary will inform me after the president sends him a statement", Borde said diplomatically.

When asked if Chopra would be eligible for inclusion in India's final eleven for Tuesday's match, Borde parried the query by saying: "I am not saying anything now...."

Incidentally, and at the outset, Borde stated categorically that he not read Monday's newspapers, which had taken the Chopra news on the front page and so he did not know much about the matter. The newshounds quickly brought him up to date.

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 ICC meets CBI as Prabhakar turns them down

NEW DELHI, Dec 4: International Cricket Council’s three member team met CBI officials on Monday to discuss the agency's match-fixing and betting report which names five Indian and 10 foreign players. “`It was a routine meeting about the investigations into the case,” said a CBI official. The ICC team, comprising Martin Hawkins, Alan Peacock and Robert Smanney, also reportedly tried to meet Manoj Prabhakar but the former all-rounder turned them down.

The ICC team wanted to question Prabhakar, since the CBI has alleged that he was the person who introduced some foreign players to the bookie Mukesh Gupta. Prabhakar, however, has denied CBI allegations.

When some reporters contacted Prabhakar, he said, “they (ICC team) telephoned me but I have turned down their request and told them to meet me along with Indian cricket board officials,” Prabhakar said. He said, "I am first answerable to BCCI and not ICC."

An unconfirmed report said the ICC team also met Ajay Sharma.

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4th December

 CBI report is like a prostitute's diary: Kamal Morarka 

New Delhi, December 4: Kamal Morarka, one of three officials nominated to hand out punishment to guilty players this week, lashed at the CBI report and described it as a “big joke.” “What is the credibility of such a report?” Morarka said in an interview with Indian website, www.tehelka.com.

“It is like a prostitute's diary. You will find names of so many rich and famous people there. How does a set of names in a bookie's diary matter?”

Morarka is one of five vice-presidents of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and sits on its three-member disciplinary committee, which will decide the fate of five tainted players. The CBI report accused former captain Mohammad Azharuddin of match fixing and four others -- Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma and Nayan Mongia -- of having undesirable connections with bookmakers.

There is a strong possibility that Azharuddin would be given a life ban. But there is pressure from within the BCCI and outside to go soft on Jadeja, the only one among the five with a realistic chance of playing for India again. In the interview, Morarka said ‘the corrupt’ CBI had not been able to prove match-fixing charges against the players.

“All they have concluded is that match-fixing exists in cricket,” Morarka said. “So what is this great thing that they have done? Everybody knew that match fixing exists in cricket. There is no cogent evidence against anybody, apart from Azharuddin. All the CBI has, by way of evidence, is mobile phone bills and printouts.”

“But the cricketers have not really confessed to anything at all. Most of them have said that they met these people at health clubs and the like and mobile phone conversations do not necessarily have to do with match fixing. I don't think that the CBI has proved match-fixing at all.”

Morarka also criticized the CBI for castigating the functioning of the BCCI and accused it of turning a blind dye to the player-bookie nexus. “I sincerely believe that there is no organisation in India that is as corrupt as the CBI,” the website quoted him as saying.

“My statement doesn't leave too much room for debate. It is an axiomatic statement. They (the CBI) are only a group of police officers that have been taken off duty and inducted in an organisation called the CBI. Tell me, what is the image of police officers in the country? I think every citizen in the country will admit that the police is more of a problem for them than anything else.”

A CBI spokesman refused to comment on Morarka's outburst, except to say it had enough evidence against the cricketers to nail them. As the BCCI's disciplinary committee -- comprising Muthiah, Morarka and another vice-president Ram Prasad -- debates the punishments, federal sports minister Uma Bharti called for stern action against the guilty players and denied any political pressure to save Jadeja.

“There will be no cover up in the action to be taken against players found guilty in the scandal,” Bharti told reporters. “Match fixing is a national crime since it involves the honor of the country and the feelings of millions of its citizens.” Bharti denied media reports that she was pressured by Defence Minister George Fernandez to protect Jadeja.

“I do meet Fernandez regularly to discuss various matters since he happens to be a senior minister but he has never mentioned Jadeja's name to me,” the sports minister asserted.

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 Govt would not take over BCCI 

NEW DELHI, Dec 4: The government has clarified that there is no move to take over the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the wake of the match-fixing scandal plaguing the game. Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Ponnu Radhakrishnan said the government had asked the BCCI to offer its comments on various aspects of the CBI match-fixing report, including the observations made by the agency on the Board's functioning.

The premier investigating agency, in its 162-page report submitted to the government on October 30, had pointed out irregularities in the functioning of the BCCI and suggested a relook into its functioning. Making hard-hitting remarks against the Board, the agency questioned the failure of BCCI officials to probe the match-fixing scandal on their own. Even though the BCCI was aware of the possible misdeeds, it made no effort to prevent the 'dirty trade' from flourishing, it said.

When asked about the proposal to take over the Board in view of alleged irregularities, the minister said, “there is no such move.” Radhakrishnan said the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had found fixed deposits amounting to Rs 1,048,274,774, term deposits worth $15,75,000 and 1,23,000 pounds during the course of raids in the office of BCCI treasurer Kishore Rungta at Jaipur. The Board, the minister said, had regularly been filing returns of income.

The income-tax department, had on July 20-21, raided the residences and offices of Rungta and cricketers all over the country in its efforts to probe any possible financial irregularities by cricketers and BCCI officials. The minister said the government was studying the CBI report and consulting the ministries concerned like those of home, personnel, finance, and law and external affairs.

So far, only the law ministry has sent its response to the CBI report. The law ministry has said that a case was made out under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) against former captain Mohammad Azharuddin and ex-player Ajay Sharma, as they were public servants. But no case was made out against the other three tainted cricketers and former physiotherapist Ali Irani. Besides Azhar, Ajay Sharma and Ali Irani, the CBI had found Ajay Jadeja, Nayan Mongia and Manoj Prabhakar involved in the match-fixing and betting racket.

Azhar is working as senior public relations manager at a Hyderabad-branch of the State Bank of India, while Ajay Sharma was an employee of the Central Warehousing Corporation. The government said the South African authorities have been kept informed about the findings of the agency in which a few of their cricketers also find a mention. The South African government has reaffirmed its decision to abide by the results of the various court cases in India.

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3rd December

No cover up in action against cricketers: Uma Bharti

Bhopal, December 3: Sports minister Uma Bharti on Saturday said that she will ensure there was no cover up in the action to be taken against players found guilty of match-fixing and denied reports that the Defence Minister, George Fernandes had put pressure on her to save Ajay Jadeja from any action.

"I do meet Fernandes regularly to discuss various matters since he happens to be a senior minister but he has never mentioned Jadeja's name to me," she said addressing a meeting here.

There were reports that Fernandes had met her earlier this week seeking her help to prevent Cricket Board action against Jadeja, a friend of Aditi who is the daughter of the Samata Party President Jaya Jaitley.

Bharati expressed the hope that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), would take by early next week a final decision on action to be taken against players whose names have figured in match fixing. Bharti added that a meeting of officials of the ministries of home, law and external affairs, CBI and the Directorate of Enforcement would be held next week in Delhi to discuss action to be taken against players found guilty of match fixing including their prosecution.

She described match fixing in cricket as a national crime since it involved the honour of the country and the feelings of millions of its citizens.  Bharti said the decision to cancel Indian cricket team's tour to Pakistan was not taken by her ministry but by the ministry of external affairs and she had no information that it would be reconsidered.

"It is the external affairs ministry which decides on the country to which an Indian team can be sent to play and my ministry has nothing to do with it," she said adding the two countries were free to participate in tournaments in third country.

Bharti said about two years ago, former Indian captain Kapil Dev had also stated that India should not have any cricketing ties with Pakistan.

"The government's stand on the issue has received a lot of support from many cricketers", she said adding that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials were free to hold the opinion that the Indian cricket team should play in Pakistan.

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2nd December

Madhavan to investigate Ahmedabad Test

December 2, 2000: BCCI has asked its Anti-Corruption Commissioner K Madhavan to investigate last year's Ahmedabad Test against New Zealand when India not only failed to enforce the follow-on but also inexplicably delayed the declaring its second innings, astounding everybody around.

The Board asked Mr Madhavan why he had not included his findings on the Ahmedabad Test. To that he told the house that he had only gone into the CBI report against those who had been deemed guilty by the country's top investigative agency.

He would be able to start his investigation on the Ahmedabad Test only after 15 days as he would be out of station over the next fortnight. Going back to the CBI report,  Kapil Dev told the Bureau that the decision not to enforce the follow-on was taken in consultation with the captain, vice-captain and other senior players. One day prior to the decision, there was absolutely no doubt in his mind that the follow-on should be enforced.

Kapil Dev told CBI that during the lunch break on the fourth day, his bowlers, especially paceman Javagal Srinath, complained that they were very tired and India should bat again and score runs quickly and make New Zealand bat thereafter. The CBI report also says: "On being told that the bookies in Delhi allegedly knew about the decision not to enforce the follow-on on the night of October 31, Kapil Dev stated that no decision to this effect was taken on the 31st and hence it was very surprising. On being asked whether somebody could have sub-consciously influenced the decision on the next day, he stated that it could not be ruled out. He could not remember as to who could have done it."

Sachin Tendulkar, who was the captain of the Indian team at that time informed the CBI, that on the third day of the Test, he had been thinking in terms of enforcing the follow-on but since the New Zealand first innings dragged on till after lunch on the fourth day, the follow-on was not imposed on the visiting side. He told the CBI that coach Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Ajay Jadeja and he decided that the follow-on would not be enforced since the bowlers, especially Srinath, had insisted that they were very tired. It was a collective decision not to enforce the follow-on. On being asked if anyone could have influenced the decision since the bookies in Delhi allegedly knew one day in advance that the follow-on would not be enforced, he accepted that it was possible.

Both Kapil Dev and Tendulkar agreed that there was a possibility that the decision could have been influenced but no one knows, who could have done that. "There is no difference if you win the series 1-0 or 2-0," a team source was quoted by wire service agency, AFP. It would be worth Mr Madhavan's time to find out who the team source was, whom the AFP reporter covering the Test talked to.

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1st December

Huge discrepancies in the CBI report: BCCI 

Calcutta, Dec1: The cricket board has stated that that there was a ' huge discrepancy ' between the actual figures and those quoted by CBI regarding the tour guarantees received by it from three overseas tournaments during the last two years.

BCCI also took a shot at CBI's conclusion that India has undersold itself in the three said tournaments - World Cup 1999 at United Kingdom, ICC Wills Cup 1998 in Bangladesh and Coca Cola Cup 1998 at Sharjah - saying, “if the figures quoted are erroneous, the conclusions based on those figures are bound to be erroneous”.

A booklet, “observations on the report of the Central Bureau of Investigation on cricket match-fixing and related malpractices,” released by BCCI, has claimed that it (BCCI) received Rs 10.75 crores from the hosts English cricket board for participation in the 1999 World Cup. "CBI, on the contrary, had projected a figure of Rs 1.5 crore,'' it said.

BCCI has also claimed that hosts ECB had earned Rs 235.5 crore from the event, and not a mere Rs. 26 Crore as quoted by CBI. Referring to CBI's observation that BCCI should fix its terms to tour any country but “the position is not reflected in the guarantee money received by the board”, the booklet said the full members received the same amount irrespective of their performance in the preliminary or knockout phases.

On the 1998 Bangladesh event, it said BCCI had earned Rs 51 lakh as guarantee money for participation and not Rs 46 lakh as stated by the investigative agency. BCCI claimed that ICC, the organizers of the event, had received Rs 62.50 crore, substantially more than the amount of Rs 35 crore quoted in the CBI report.

Tracing the background to the organization of the tournament, the board said ICC had embarked on it to raise funds for development and globalization of the game. “Had ICC not found the means to raise funds through the tournament, each full member would have been called upon to contribute Rs 9.65 crore for the above causes,” it said. The booklet claimed that since ICC had raised adequate money from the tournament, the full members including India were spared from making financial contribution.

“India had, in fact, saved Rs 9.65 crore by taking part in the Bangladesh championship," it added.  Strongly arguing in favour of the Indian team's participation in Sharjah tournaments since 1984, BCCI said the guarantee money received by it was the highest or equivalent to that given to other ICC full members taking part in tourneys there.

Referring to the adverse comments in the CBI report regarding India's participation in tournaments in the desert venue, it said, "it is a pity the board has been criticised for encouraging tournaments in Sharjah that benefit former and present cricketers or those in Toronto where the board is able to make direct profits close to Rs 4.60 crore.''

"It is amply clear from the figures that there was no way that India had ' undersold itself ' as alleged by CBI," the booklet claimed. It described as ' incorrect ' CBI's suggestion that the BCCI officers who were examined by the agency sleuths could not ' satisfactorily explain ' the matters. “No BCCI official could have agreed to the contention that the board has earned only Rs 1.5 crore from the 1999 World Cup, whereas the actual earning was Rs 10.75 crore”, the booklet added.  

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