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 Hawala transactions a part of match fixing: CBI 

The CBI is likely to send a reference to the Enforcement Directorate to look into alleged hawala transactions by cricket players and bookies.While the match-fixing report waits for the final approval of CBI chief R K Raghavan, sources say the agency has sufficient corroborative evidence to indicate that several prominent Indian and some foreign players received payments in foreign currency from bookies and deposited the same via the hawala route.


CBI's report is expected to contain a mini-directory on the network of bookies besides naming the players who have been involved in the biggest scandal of all times.. The names and network of at least 200 bookies are expected to be exposed. The CBI has questioned some 50 bookies and included in its findings the statements of around five of them about how they were regularly paying hefty sums of cash and foreign currency to cricketers for under-performing in matches.

The CBI has estimated that betting worth a whopping Rs 300 crore is being done during a one-day international cricket fixture, and not necessarily in a match where India is playing. Significantly, monitoring of telephones of the bookies revealed that their business remained largely unaffected after the Hansie Cronje scam broke. Some prominent bookies went underground, but records of telephone conversations show that the network remained active throughout the period of investigation.

The CBI will highlight how, over the years, the bookies have begun to rely upon a sophisticated servicing syndicate, run by ``dabba'' operators in Delhi and Mumbai. CBI sleuths were taken to witness some ``dabba'' operations in Mumbai where from a central console fitted with a powerful microphone, betting rates can be simultaneously fed to 100 telephone lines. Several of these ``dabba'' operations, which are actually mini-telephone exchanges, were seen in operation even after the inquiry begun. The owners of the betting centers may or may not have been in league with the bookies themselves.

Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Indore, Calcutta and Lucknow have emerged as major cricket-betting centers of the country. Bookies by the names of Mukesh Gupta (involved in the Cronje scam), Hans, Rampal Rajouri, Pole and Anand Saxena, Rattan Mehta, Mona Mehta, Vikas Sabharwal and Pinky are among the prominent players in Delhi. Among other places, the health club of Hotel Park Royale, frequented by Manoj Prabhakar was found to be a sort of a hub for players and bookies.

For Mumbai, the CBI found Anil Steel, Dalip and Shoban Mehta to be indulging in betting in a big way. In Calcutta, a bookie by the name of Jagmohan and in the case of Ahmedabad, one by the name of Aniya were found to be part of the cricketing sweepstakes.

The CBI has established that the key cricketers were regularly in touch with these bookies during match-playing days and then corroborated this with circumstantial evidence in the form of telephone records, hotel bookings and travel schedules.

 More cricketers to be named in the CBI report 

The match-fixing report due to be submitted to the Central Government by CBI today is expected to name a former Australian batsmen as they have found him being connected with the bookies

This middle-order batsman from Australia played in the late 80s and early 90s was known for his aggressive batting. The cricketer in question, along with star West Indies batsman Brian Lara are a few foreign players whose involvement is found with the Indian bookies in the report. It is believed that the CBI didn't go deep in the matter where any foreign cricketer was involved with a bookie. The inquiry was restricted to the Indian players only.

In another revelation, former India physiotherapist, Ali Irani has also been named in the CBI report to be working as a middleman between the bookies and few India cricketers particularly Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. Besides that he was in direct touch with the bookies as well, providing information about the team composition and tactics. Irani, who worked with the Indian side for over ten years appeared before the agency on July 1. At the time he denied having any connection with the bookies and said that he didn't know if anything like match fixing existed

 Pak willing to tour India

Pakistan have offered to send their cricket team to India in case they are unable to fulfill their commitment to tour that country later this year and are even willing to send some of the top players to plead with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to help revive the series.

A Indian cricket board (BCCI) source indicated here on Monday that PCB chief Lt Gen Tauqir Zia had asked his Indian counterpart to salvage India's tour to Pakistan and in case of failure to do so he was willing to send the Pakistani team to India.

India are scheduled to tour Pakistan in December-January, 2001 but the board requires clearance from the government. Indian government had refused permission to the cricket team for the annual Sahara Cup series against Pakistan in Toronto earlier this year citing that country's support to cross-border terrorism as the reason. The situation has not improved for the Indian government to change its stand, the source said.

Board secretary Jaywant Lele, who is here, said the board would wait till November 15 for the government clearance. "If no clearance comes by that time, the tour would not be on," he said.

The source said Zia is even willing to send a few senior Pakistani players to meet Prime Minister Vajpayee and to try and persuade him to clear the tour. Pakistani coach Javed Miandad has also asked his Indian counterpart Anshuman Gaekwad to use his influence in reviving tour, which till now appears to be doomed.

 Javed Akhtar sues Ali Bacher 

Former Pakistani umpire Javed Akhtar has had filed a $1.8 million defamation suit against South African cricket official Ali Bacher over match-fixing allegations. ``I have filed a defamation case against Bacher who tried to damage my credibilty and honesty through baseless allegations of match-fixing,'' Akhtar told AFP.

He is seeking damages worth Rs. 100 million ($1.8 million). Bacher has been summoned to appear in court on November 27. Bacher, the former chief of South Africa's Board and now head of its 2003 World Cup committee, accused Akhtar of involved in match fixing Among others, he alleged he had been informed that Akhtar took money from a bookie to influence a Test between England and South Africa at Leeds in 1998.

Akhtar gave eight leg before decisions in that particular match. South Africa lost the Test and with it the series. ``When the Pakistan Cricket Board protested over his statement in May he retracted it but levelled the same allegations before the King Commission in June,'' Akhtar said. Akhtar officiated 18 Tests and 40 one-day Internationals before retiring last year. ``I am contesting the case that Bacher's allegations wilfully intended to and has lowered my prestige and honesty,'' he said.

 South Africa’s call for a the third umpire  

South Africa, in what it says will be a world first, is to use television technology to verify lbw decisions in all domestic matches in the 2000-2001 season.

"As soon as we believe there are sufficient grounds for the use of this technology at international level, we shall motivate its inclusion in the playing conditions applicable to Test and one-day international cricket to the International Cricket Council," United Cricket Board of South Africa managing director Ali Bacher said. 

In their domestic matches they will refer to the third umpire to see if the ball pitched outside the line or the pad was outside the line of the stumps or whether it was high and incase of ball brushing past the bat.

LBW decisions have always been the toughest to make as the umpire has only a split second to take his decision and more often than not the batsman looks dissatisfied. 

"Television technology supplemented by the "lbw mat" has now advanced to the stage where these aspects can be based upon fact.

Added Bacher: "The umpire in the year 2000 is endeavoring to pit the human eye against the advances of modern technology. "It is incumbent upon us to ensure that umpires and the standard of umpiring remain an integral part of the game and we are confident that the added responsibility of the television umpire will assist the on-field umpire in making the correct decisions with confidence and assurance."

If this decision is implemented then it will bring revolution to this game and would also emphasis on the importance of Technology. Anyway the umpires depend heavily on the third eye and this is another step taken towards making the game foul proof.


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