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December 15, 2000

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The Cricket Interview /Kamal Morarka

'Is the CBI director saying that all those working for the CBI are lily white?'


Part I:
'There was irrational exuberance to punish the cricketers'

Part III:
'Can a cricketer sell the country?'

Part IV:
'The BCCI is not somebody's monopoly'

Senior Cricket Correspondent Faisal Shariff's interview with BCCI vice-president Kamal Morarka continues.

Is it true that Jagmohan Dalmiya is not happy with the way Dr Muthiah has gone about with the match-fixing case?

That is in any organisation. That has nothing to do with this controversy. Everyone can't have the same view on everything all the time. We are a democratic body.

Mr. Jagmohan DalmiyaWhy have you been so contemptuous of the CBI report?

I said two things, and both of them are so non-controversial. I said there is more corruption in the CBI than there is in BCCI. Is somebody trying to say that there is no corruption in the CBI? Is the CBI director saying that all those working for the CBI are lily white?

So you agree there is corruption in the BCCI.

After six months of investigation the CBI has said that five cricketers are corrupt. So I am only assuming that. After painstaking interrogation and investigation this is all they found. This is nothing compared to what I know. I don't understand what is the issue!

What is it that you know?

About the CBI functioning; about the police functioning in the country. Why this effort to muzzle my voice?

Don't you have faith in the CBI inquiry?

I have as much faith in the CBI inquiry as in any other police inquiry.

What does that mean?

The police cannot hang a person. The courts will decide what punishment will be meted out. The court will judge who is right and who is wrong. Therefore, admissions before the police and confessions before the police are not admissible in court. Because this is a civilised society. Even if the CBI says XYZ admitted things in front of us, that doesn't make it admissible in court. All that I said is that the CBI inquiry is one document, let us see.

Let the CBI take action; let them file a FIR and go to court. That they are not doing. The ball is in our court. Let us not have this irrational exuberance of taking the CBI report, and Mr Madhavan gives an analysis of that report, and we say, 'Come on, come on, let's hurry up'. Hurry up, about what?

How long can this go on? The media, everyone, just wants to end this and go on with the game. Why dwell on this for so long?

There can be two opinions on this. All right, whatever you have said has happened. Mr Muthiah agreed with you.

But Mr Muthiah has also said he does not agree with your view that the CBI is corrupt.

The media asked me to comment on what happened at the meeting. I said I am not authorised to speak. So they used just one quote. One fellow spoke about the CBI, I just turned around and asked whether you have the guts to print what I say. Now, this has nothing to do with the BCCI. You hold me for my statements; you cannot go and ask somebody else about my statement.

What if somebody else is president of the BCCI?

So, is he responsible for all my views? This is on the CBI, not on cricket. I thought the press would take up for me, that here is a guy who is speaking. Now the press wants to muzzle me.

I am just saying we should treat everyone with the same norms. I would like to say one thing -- that the press people who have taken action against Azhar apply the same standards when they are confronted with some evidence against themselves.

Why did the CBI come into the picture? In your personal opinion, how should this matter have been handled?

Hansie Cronje Why are you asking me? It should have been handled differently. The whole thing came to a crunch and then a tape recorded conversation of Hansie Cronje was intercepted by the Delhi police, giving rise to the feeling that there is some matchfixing going on on some visible scale. According to me, nothing should have been done. The Delhi police should have first been allowed to complete the investigation.

The Delhi police should have been told that in addition to Hansie Cronje, please try and find out whether the Indian players are involved in this dirty thing. We should have had the patience to wait for the findings of the Delhi police. And if the Delhi police had found somebody as guilty as Cronje then the answer is obvious. Then we don't need any answer from anybody. Or, as you say, if the law is not clear, okay they would have given us the findings and said the law is weak and you take action.

But, no, immediately, there is a hue and cry in the media that the BCCI is not functioning properly. Unfortunately, our ex-president Mr Bindra went to England and said Kapil Dev is the leader of this whole racket, and Manoj Prabhakar goes shouting around town that I have been saying this for four years. And the government goes ahead and calls a meeting. The BCCI was cornered as if the BCCI is trying to cover up something.

Did you oppose the move that the CBI should be given the case?

The CBI report, after six months, said exactly what Justice Chandrachud had said.

No, Mr Morarka, it is radically different. How can you say that?

No, it is the same, only the language is different. That is the judge's language and this is the policeman's language. Both have found the same thing that matchfixing evidence is difficult to find and betting is going on, on a large scale.

But Justice Chandrachud said no matchfixing happens in the country.

The CBI report also said that.

How can that be if you look at the whole report? Azhar has said ...

I have read the report. That is all the CBI says. It has found no evidence. It says Azharuddin has said that I have fixed matches.

What kind of evidence are you looking for?

The kind of evidence that you got for Hansie Cronje. A telephone conversation. If a match was fixed, money has changed hands.

On what basis can you say that a telephone conversation is proof enough?

It's not proof enough, but it is definitely corroborative proof. It is one link in the chain. It means the law of evidence is so clear. Every day we see cases in court; one link to a-b-c-d; if the link is complete the judge is convinced. But if one link is missing then you have to give the benefit of doubt to the person.

So you think there is a witch-hunt against the players and the BCCI?

No, I don't think it is a witch-hunt, but definitely the whole process has been under tremendous pressure. Mr Muthiah has told you already that there is pressure building up and anything done under pressure is not good. Just like bookies meeting players and pressurising them to under perform. Similarly, anybody putting pressure on me. Pressure is never good. You must play for the country; you must play for the game. The BCCI must administer the game in a manner in which the player's motivation improves. Punitive action will be taken only after evidence.

So, Mr Morarka, are you saying you stand by what the players said? Or are you standing by the CBI?

You tell me, how can any reasonable person -- I consider myself a very reasonable person -- judge whether a player, who has played for the country for 20 years, is lying or whether this person has made a different statement to the CBI. I was not present there. So how can a reasonable person judge? I must ask the CBI; I must write to the CBI.


Mail Cricket Editor