Chargesheet in Cronje match-fixing case finally filed
Thirteen years after the match fixing scandal involving Hansie Cronje rocked the cricket world, Delhi Police, on Monday, filed a charge sheet in a court here naming the former South African captain and five others, including Kishan Kumar, brother of T-Series founder Gulshan Kumar.
The charge sheet was filed before link magistrate Akash Jain as Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Amit Bansal was on leave. The 90-page charge sheet will come up for consideration on Tuesday before CMM Bansal.
Police has named Cronje, who was killed in a plane crash in 2002, in column 2 of the charge sheet -- which lists the accused who are dead or against whom proceedings are abated.
London-based bookie Sanjeev Chawla, bookie Manmohan Khattar, T-Series founder Gulshan Kumar's brother Kishan Kumar, Delhi-based bookie Rajesh Kalra and Sunil Dara alias Bittoo have also been named as accused. No other cricketer has been named in the charge sheet.
Image: Hansie Cronje
Cronje had confessed to match fixing
According to police sources, the charge sheet is mostly based on King's Commission report, confession of Hansie Cronje and telephonic intercepts.
They said Chawla and Khattar are hiding in UK and US respectively. Police will issue red corner notices against them and begin the process of their extradition after filing the charge sheet, they said.
It was in April 2000 that the Crime Branch of Delhi Police had stumbled upon the match fixing scandal when they intercepted calls of a London-based bookie.
In May this year, during the investigation in the spot-fixing case in which police have arrested 29 people including three cricket players -- S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila--the attention of the investigators was drawn to a pending case in which Cronje and others were named.
The police, in its charge sheet, said that between March 8, 2000 to March 19, 2000, "it was revealed that accused persons were conspiring to fix the matches in connivance with Cronje".
Image: Hansie Cronje
Photographs: Touchline /Allsport
Cronje was in constant touch with bookies
Regarding Sanjeev Chawla, it said he was in constant touch with Cronje and had also stayed in the same hotels at the same time where the teams were staying during their visit in India for the cricket series.
It said Chawla had provided a phone, which was purchased by accused Kalra, to Cronje and the frequency of calls between them was "very high" at the time of the matches.
"While Sanjeev Chawla was in touch with Hansie Cronje, frequency of calls between him and his accomplices Kishan Kumar, Rajesh Kalra, Sunil Dara had increased manifold during the matches. This brings out the criminal intentions of the accused persons to fix matches in conspiracy with each other," the charge sheet said.
Referring to the report of Kings Commission of Inquiry, constituted in South Africa to probe the match-fixing scandal, the police said it revealed that money had changed hands and went to Cronje for fixing cricket matches between India and South Africa.
"It is revealed that Sanjeev Chawla was introduced to Cronje by one Hamid Cassim, a South African national, who was reportedly hanging out with the South Africa team members .... Cassim came in contact with Chawla in South Africa in January 2000 during a triangular series between England, South Africa and Zimbabwe and then introduced to Cronje," it said.
Image: Hansie Cronje
Boje, Giibs too were under scanner
Referring to the statement given on June 9, 2000 by Boje, another former South African cricketer, before the Kings Commission, the police said he had denied his involvement in the match-fixing scandal.
Regarding Gibbs, the police said that in his statement recorded before the Kings Commission on June 8, 2000, he had admitted that he knew Cassim.
The charge sheet further said Gibbs had told the Commission that Cronje had offered him money for scoring less than 20 runs in the match.
Detailing Cronje's role, the police said "it is evident that the entire commission of the offence of fixing cricket matches between India and South Africa would not have been possible without the active involvement and planning on the part of the then captain of the South Africa cricket team i.e. Hansie Cronje."
It also said he had himself confessed about his role and involvement in the case before the Kings Commission.
The charge sheet also said Kishan Kumar had said that Chawla had paid Rs 1.20 crore to Cronje in two instalments of Rs 60 lakh each for fixing the matches.
Regarding Chawla, the charge sheet said he had played the "most vital role" in the commission of crime.
"He (Chawla) not only acted as a conduit between the bookies but also fixed matches in connivance with the South African captain (Cronje)," it said adding statements given by Cronje and Cassim before the Kings Commission clearly point to Chawla's deep-rooted involvement in the case.
Image: Nicky Boje
Photographs: Tanushree Punwani/Reuters