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Rediff.com  » Cricket » 'Delhi police didn't force confession out of spot-fixing accused'

'Delhi police didn't force confession out of spot-fixing accused'

August 06, 2015 11:36 IST

'The investigations were done properly and thoroughly. We established a link between Dawood Ibrahim and the core group that was accused of match-fixing.'

'The moment you increase the possibility of making a team winning or losing a game that's where match-fixing happens. And whenever match-fixing happens, it can only happen at the players' level. If a player is not fixed to perform a particular task then how can one generate money?'

Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan tells Manu Shankar Rediff.com that the Delhi police investigation into the IPL spot-fixing case was not botched up and explains why he still has grounds to impose MCOCA on the three players who represented the Rajasthan Royals in IPL6.

IMAGE: From top left, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan and Shantakumaran Sreesanth, the players accused in the IPL spot-fixing case.

 

It is more than a fortnight since the dust settled on the Indian Premier League spot-fixing case, in which cricketers Shantakumaran Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan and 33 other accused were all discharged for want of insufficient evidence.

Additional Sessions Judge Neena Krishna Bansal, in her 175-page order on the charges, said, 'No prima facie case in any offence including provisions of MCOCA (the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) is made out against the accused persons and they are entitled to be discharged.'

Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan is not ready to concede defeat just yet. After the Patiala House court rejected his arguments, he is preparing to knock at the doors of a higher court.

Mohan spoke exclusively to Manu Shankar/Rediff.com about the case.

There was a last-minute appeal from your end wherein you stated that the findings of the Justices Lodha and Mudgal committees need to be considered before the judge delivered a final verdict.

I had concluded my (last) arguments on 23rd April 2015 on the IPL case. After 23rd April there was a development in the case which we all know, as the Justice R M Lodha and Mukul Mudgal Commissions had come out with their respective reports on the IPL.

The MCOCA investigation was started on 3rd June 2013 and from 13th July the matter had become sub judice in front of the Mudgal bench.

Now the Mudgal Commission was constituted under the Commission of Inquiry Act 1952, and, according to that Act, they had the jurisdiction over the entire IPL activity without any restrictions, unlike the Delhi police which had a marked jurisdiction.

Likewise, the Mumbai and Chennai police had their own jurisdiction, although all could go to these places for their investigation purposes and they didn't have to necessarily share the information with other agencies.

The Mudgal committee, on the other hand, had powers to summon the records and findings from any agencies, one which was supposed to be a confidential report, until the report findings wasn't made public.

So when the Mudgal committee came out with its report we realised that we were working on the same lines as the other agencies and each one of them had shared its findings with the Mudgal committee.

However, we cannot use the findings of a commission that is constituted under the Commission of Inquiry Act as evidence. So I put forward an application in lieu of the recent findings that we wanted to investigate further and asked time for the same, which was not considered by the court and it pronounced its verdict.

IMAGE: Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan. Photograph: Manu Shankar/Rediff.com

 

But having said that, the Mudgal and Lodha committees' reports were not about investigating the players directly...

It doesn't matter whether it was done by (Gurunath) Meiyappan or by anyone else; overall, there was betting activity happening. Betting is not an activity that happens by chance; betting happens to get the result as per desire.

You see A & B team play against each other; technically speaking, both have equal chances of winning. So the moment you increase the possibility of making a team winning or losing a game that's where match-fixing happens.

And whenever match-fixing happens, it can only happen at the players' level. If a player is not fixed to perform a particular task, then how can one generate money?

So the actual generation of wealth happens when the players are fixed; only then can you get the desired result.

So the root source of wealth generation at the top-level are the players, who are fixed.

You are planning to challenge the trial court verdict in the high court. What would your grounds for this appeal be?

I have recommended the matter for filing the appeal in the high court. We are filing on the grounds that the high court could consider the facts that the trial court did not entertain.

For example, MCOCA is applicable in only two states in India: Delhi and Maharashtra, and the two syndicates that were linked to this case were Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel.

Dawood and Chhota Shakeel's activities are in Mumbai, like the 1993 blasts etc. The same syndicate had committed an offence in Delhi as well and a chargesheet has been filed against them.

Now the judge was of the view that the activities of the syndicate were in Mumbai. In Delhi, there was only one case, so the threshold criteria -- that there must be more than one chargesheet in Delhi -- that criteria was not getting fulfilled.

So for the sake of territorial jurisdiction, these people were not liable to be prosecuted under MCOCA, because there is no chargesheet against these people more than once in a particular area.

All the accused were found involved only in this case. Prior to this case, there was no involvement of the accused people in this IPL MCOCA case. So, for the invocation of MCOCA, there must be one chargesheet against the individual or against the syndicate.

In the present case we have established that Ashwani Aggarwal, Ramesh Vyas and Firoz Farhid Ansari was the core group of the IPL activity and this group was having association with the Dawood and Chhota Shakeel syndicate.

So we can invoke MCOCA on two grounds: As in where the individual is having more than one chargesheet and the other where the association or the syndicate to which the individual is associated has more than one chargesheet.

So I've argued that there is no point in not considering the chargesheet filed in Maharashtra. We cannot make the law handicapped so much that anyone can come and commit an offence in say Jhajjar, Haryana, Rohtak etc, and get away with it as it doesn't fall in Delhi's jurisdiction.

Is there any fresh evidence you plan to bring to the high court?

When we go for a revision in the case of discharge, we cannot lead with any new piece of evidence. We are going to argue on the same evidence that we have at the moment and will justify our case with the same.

IMAGE: Policemen escort bookies after they were produced in the Saket court in New Delhi in 2013. Photograph: Reuters

 

What leads did you get from the Enforcement Directorate and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence?

The Gujarat ED produced the leads on money-laundering, but according to the judge betting and match-fixing can only be categorised as an activity.

Similarly, the Chennai police too investigated a matter wherein it showed that the money flow happened in two ways.

One was through hawala and the other was through betfair.com. So, by the time the Justice Mudgal or Lodha Committee released their reports, the Gujarat ED simultaneously filed this case of money-laundering.

Although they weren't exactly the same people who were accused in the match-fixing case, except for Ramesh Vyas and Firoz Farid, they were accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (2002). Now PMLA is a predicate offence for this purpose of MCOCA.

So now you have look at the ultimate result or outcome of this betting or match-fixing. You see the ultimate result is generation of money and this generation of wealth happens through betting, which is illegal and falls under the PMLA.

One argument of the defence lawyers was that the Delhi police was trying to force a confession out of the accused.

No, the Delhi police did not force anything out of the spot-fixing accused. I will tell you why the statements were not forced. The law has made a confession admissible (in court) and it is this admissibility that safeguards it as well.

The procedure of recording a confession has a set pattern, which is a confession in front of a policeman at a particular time; it is an admissible piece of evidence.

No doubt, there is no fixed pattern in MCOCA, but the same thumb rule is there in POTA and TADA as well.

In the State of Punjab vs Kartar Singh case (1994), they have given particular guidelines to recording a confession statement. So it's not like you go in front of a DCP (deputy commissioner of police) and he will start recording your statement.

There is a specific provision that once an accused it brought in front of a DCP, he will grill the accused continuously for four to five hours in a separate room and then the DCP will give the accused time to think over before recording his statement.

During that time, the DCP will also tell the accused the pros and cons of recording a statement and, then again, will give him few hours to think over it before finally recording the confession.

So it is only after that a confession is recorded and once it is recorded immediately a copy is sent to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, CMM.

In this case, after recording the confession, the CMM reconfirmed with Ramesh Vyas whether it was his statement or whether it was forced out of him or not.

There is a feeling that the Delhi police failed to investigate the matter properly and did not have enough evidence to back its claims.

The investigations were done properly and thoroughly. You see, we established the link between Dawood Ibrahim and the core group that was accused of match-fixing.

We brought the cases to court, but the judge formed an opinion that we cannot consider earlier instances to this, so this aspect is all about interpretation.

Either there should be a law that clearly states the obvious, or there should be a specific provision in the act itself. So it is a matter of interpretation based on MCOCA provisions.

It is possible that the high court may have a different opinion on this issue, so that is why I say that you can't say that the matter wasn't properly investigated.

In the judgment nowhere it is said that there was lack of evidence.

For example, we have a set-piece of evidence and now it's up to the individual to see it as either the best possible evidence or they can completely throw it out saying that this piece of evidence has no value.

Has the time come to have a separate law for spot-fixing?

Definitely! You see we are still running on the Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955 and it is on that basis that betting is illegal.

Nobody thought, when the Gambling Act was formed, one can gamble electronically as well. In those days it was the traditional method of teen patti. We should have a separate law on spot-fixing or match-fixing.

So unless we make it punishable under some law, there are possibilities that such instances could happen again.

EARLIER IN THE SERIES

Manu Shankar / Rediff.com