The CBI Report in Full -- Part 23
Statement of I S Bindra
Shri I S Bindra, former president of BCCI, talked about a number of incidents which created suspicion that match-fixing and betting existed in cricket.
He referred to an incident of 1979 in which G R Vishwanath, Captain of the Indian team, went out to toss with Asif Iqbal, Captain of Pakistan and Vishwanath lost the toss, but to his utter surprise found Asif Iqbal insisting that Vishwanath had won the toss.
There was a possibility that there might have been bets placed on the toss in this match. He also stated another incident reported by Mr L P Sahi in the Telegraph newspaper, Calcutta, that Ajay Jadeja had brought a bookie to meet Azharuddin in the dressing room in 1994-'95 at Sharjah and when reporters came to know of this, they tried to photograph the bookie with the players and their efforts were blocked by Jadeja and Azharuddin and the bookie was sent out in a hurry.
He also alleged that Mr P M Rungta and Dr Ravinder Chaddha were the two persons whom he suspected of betting during cricket matches. As regards Manoj Prabhakar's allegations about Kapil Dev having offered him money during the Singer Cup 1994, Shri Bindra stated that Manoj Prabhakar met him for the first time on 22.4.2000 at Mohali, Chandigarh, in the presence of Mr Pandove, secretary, PCA, and told him about the incident.
Manoj Prabhakar also allegedly told Mr Bindra that Navjot Singh Sidhu was also present when this offer was made and Shri Bindra allegedly later on confirmed the same from N S Sidhu. He also stated that on one occasion Dr Ali Irani had told him that Manoj Prabhakar, N S Sidhu and Nayan Mongia had placed bets on a cricket match not involving India at England.
He further revealed that Azharuddin was presented a Mercedes car in Sharjah by a person claiming to be his admirer.
He stated that Mr Jyoti Bajpai, the administrative manager of the Indian team at that time, had informed that the person who presented the Mercedes was a Pakistani supporter and it was difficult to understand why a Pakistani supporter should present a car to Azharuddin.
Shri I S Bindra also referred to the match in Sharjah which was played under failing light between India and Pakistan. He stated that there is a possibility that this match was continued because of some foul play, especially since matches in Sharjah were played for money and he referred to such matches as 'Masala and Thaila' matches.
He also narrated an incident in which India-New Zealand played a match in Sharjah on 20.4.98. The secretary of Pakistan Cricket Board mentioned to him that he had overheard a conversation between Asif Iqbal and Marc Mascarenhas that the Indian team will be out for less than 185 runs and the top four Indian players will throw their wickets.
This fact was also allegedly mentioned by the then president of Pakistan Cricket Board to Mr Salve separately. According to Bindra, the way Mr Ali Bacher conducts matches in South Africa creates a lot of suspicion.
He has also talked about the World Cup 1999 match between India and Zimbabwe and said that Sunil Gavaskar, immediately after the match, had alleged on TV that someone from the dressing room had sent a message to the players to finish the match quickly even though many deliveries were left to get the required runs.
Mr Bindra further stated that when Sunil Gavaskar was ridiculed by Raj Singh Dungarpur for making such irresponsible statements, Sunil Gavaskar came out in the press stating that it was Mr Brijesh Patel, who was part of the team management, who had told him so.
He also stated that the role of bookies after 1996 had decreased in match-fixing and now it is suspected that match-fixing is done by 'event managers' who were signing up various players.
The event managers are signing players for huge amounts and if for any reason, they are not able to recover their investment, they fix matches and performance to recover their money.
Statement of Sunil Dev Sunil Dev
Former vice-president, BCCI and manager of the Indian team, stated that he suspected Ajay Sharma due to his proximity with Azharuddin. Ajay Sharma was seen at many places with Azharuddin during matches and was also available to Azharuddin on telephone.
He revealed that some bookies had reportedly snatched Ajay Sharma's Opel Astra Car and his cell phone, sometime after the India-South Africa series. Similarly, he also suspected one Karun Dubey, a former Ranji Trophy player, due to his proximity with Kapil Dev. He further stated that Karun Dubey visited Australia and was with Kapil Dev during the last series in Australia.
He also stated that Kapil Dev owned a lot of property, including a flat in London, a house in Sunder Nagar, some residential property in Maharani Bagh, Safdarjung Enclave and some property in Chandigarh. It was difficult to believe that all this property can be owned purely through income as a cricketer.
He also stated that Ajay Jadeja also had a lot of property in Delhi and Bombay which needed to be probed. Sunil Dev also stated that when India plays in some non-regular venues like Singapore, Nairobi, Toronto and Dubai, there are some middlemen who take some money to arrange these matches in connivance with the BCCI office-bearers.
Statement of Madhav Rao Scindia
Shri Madhav Rao Scindia, former president, BCCI, stated that he was present at Sharjah during the India-Pakistan match which was played in failing light. Ashok Mankad was the manager of the team at that time and Mohd Azharuddin was captain. He was present there in his capacity as president of BCCI.
On being asked why the match was allowed to continue in darkness, he stated that, as a matter of principle, office-bearers of BCCI do not interfere with decision-making on the field. Such decisions are taken by the coach, captain and team management.
On being asked about DRI tapes allegedly sent to him by Mr Sivaraman, the then revenue secretary, sometime in 1995, he stated that Mr Sivaraman had not handed over any tapes to him nor was any transcript or gist of information purportedly contained in those tapes given to him.
He stated that he was not the BCCI president during that period and there is no reason why Mr Sivaraman should have provided him the alleged tapes.
Mail Cricket Editor