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November 1, 2000

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The CBI Report in Full -- Part 17



About the alleged offer made to him by Kapil Dev during the Singer Cup, 1994 in Sri Lanka, Manoj Prabhakar stated that, during the Singer Cup, he and Navjot Singh Sidhu were room mates in the hotel where the team was staying.

The adjoining room in the hotel was connected to Manoj Prabhakar's room through a common door, and was occupied by Prashant Vaidhya and Nayan Mongia. One day, when he was in the bathroom, N. S. Sidhu called him and told him that 'Paaji' had come with some offer and wanted to talk to him.

Thereafter, Kapil Dev told him that India had to loose the next match against Pakistan and Manoj Prabhakar will be paid Rs. 25 lacs to underperform in the match. Manoj Prabhakar stated that he was flabbergasted at this offer and shouted at Kapil Dev. N.S. Sidhu was also present in the room at that time.

Thereafter, Prashant Vaidhya and a Bengali journalist, who was sitting in Prashant Vaidhya's room, came to Prabhakar's room on hearing the commotion and asked him what had happened. Manoj Prabhakar told Prashant Vaidhya that Kapil Dev had offered him money to underperform.

After this incident, he reported the matter to Ajit Wadekar, Manager of the team and also to Mohd. Azharuddin, the Captain of the team. He also informed Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar who were doing commentary during that series, after a few days.

On being asked whether Kapil Dev made this offer to some of the other players in the team also, Prabhakar stated that he had no proof to corroborate this. On being asked why he did not disclose these facts before the Justice Chandrachud Commmission, hestated that he wanted to disclose everything but Justice Chandrachud told him that he would not record anything which he would disclose and hence he did not see any point in mentioning Kapil Dev's offer to him.

About his slow batting in the Kanpur One-Dayer against West Indies in 1994, Manoj stated that when Nayan Mongia came to bat, he told him that there were instructions from the dressing room that both of them should bat carefully and not lose their wickets.

Nayan Mongia, till date, has not told him as to who was the person who had given him these instructions. According to Manoj, one Hiren Hathi is very close to Kapil Dev and played cards for very high stakes. Similarly, Ajay Sharma is very close to Mohd. Azharuddin and acts as his agent.

There was an incident in which the late Raman Lamba placed a bet of Rs.50,000/- in Prabhakar's name without his knowledge in a particular match. The opposition was batting second and he was bowling the last ball of the match with one wicket to go and one run to win. Prabhakar got the last man out and won the game for India.

Thereafter, he received a telephone call from an unknown person who claimed himself to be a bookie and threatened him and told him that he had lost around Rs.85 lakhs. Once, when Manoj was in the BCCI office in Bombay, one Prakash Kelkar introduced him to an unknown person.

The latter requested Manoj Prabhakar to introduce him to some of the Indian players playing at that point of time in New Zealand. When asked about the purpose, that person revealed that he had lost a lot of money and had to make for it by fixing certain matches through some Indian players.

According to Prabhakar, he did not believe this man, whereupon the latter told him that he would ring up Ajit Wadekar and Mohd. Azharuddin and that Manoj Prabhakar could listen to the conversation on a parallel line. Thereafter, that person allegedly rang up Ajit Wadekar and Mohd. Azharuddin.

To his shock, Manoj Prabhakar heard that both of them had a positive attitude towards fixing matches. Manoj Prabhakar knew all about their activities and, from then on, he was harassed continuously by cricket authorities.

On being asked his mobile phone print-out which disclosed a number of calls to known bookies/punters including Sanjiv Chawla, Rajesh Kalra, Sunil Dara, Rattan Mehta, etc., Manoj Prabhakar stated that he had contacted them for the purpose of investigating match fixing allegations.

He further stated that he knew Sanjiv Chawla since he visited the Gym at Hotel Park Royal and he was looking for an overseas partner for his cosmetics business and the telephone calls in his cell phone were in that connection.

Rajesh Kalra is his friend and prints brochures for his cosmetic's business. He further stated that he also knew Sunil Dara who used to frequent the gym at Hotel Park Royal and, once or twice, he had asked Prabhakar about the outcome of cricket matches and he had given his opinion to Sunil Dara.

He admitted that he knew Anand Saxena very well and had attended a few parties with him. Anand Saxena, on some occasions, had asked him to introduce cricket players to him but he had refused.the former Indian player stated that he first played cricket for Delhi in 1984 when Mohinder Amrarnath was the captain.

He played for India for the first time in 1987 and has in all played one Test match and 33 one-day internationals. Ajay Sharma played league cricket in Delhi, and in one of the league matches he played for the Sonnet Club in the Ram Charan Aggarwal tournament in the late 1980s, in a ground near Town Hall, Delhi, he scored a century.

The spectators watching the match were happy and surrounded him on his way back to the pavilion. Some people also put some money in his pockets as a gesture. From the ground, he was escorted by his friend Sanjay Bharadwaj and some policemen.

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

He denied that he provided information regarding weather, pitch etc to M K Gupta during the Indian team's tour to New Zealand in 1990. But he remembered that M K had rung up his hotel room during the New Zealand tour in 1990 and had talked to Manoj Prabhakar.

After the New Zealand tour, Ajay Sharma was dropped from the Indian team scheduled to tour England and it was during this period that he personally introduced Manoj Prabhakar to M K Gupta on the insistence of M K Gupta.

Thereafter, he lost touch with M K Gupta who became close to Manoj Prabhakar. About the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match between Mumbai and Delhi held at Delhi in 1991, Ajay Sharma stated that, in that particular year, Bishen Singh Bedi had taken some court order due to which Ranji Trophy matches were delayed and that some of the Delhi players including himself and Manoj Prabhakar, Maninder Singh, Atul Wassan, Bhaskar Pillai etc were scheduled to play league cricket in England that year.

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