Gibbs reveals more names to Indian police
Herschelle Gibbs is believed to have named the former South African offspinner, Derek Crookes, as one of three former team-mates involved in a match-fixing scam, during his questioning by Indian police in Delhi. The authorities now want to speak to those players.
Ranjit Narayan, the crime branch joint police commissioner, led two-and-a-half hours of questioning of Gibbs who he said was "part of the conspiracy" to fix match results for money during a tour of India in 2000.
"Gibbs was asked about his role in the entire episode and the illegal gratification offered to him to underperform or throw away matches," Narayan said in a statement. "In light of the information given by Gibbs today, further investigation to collect corrobative evidence shall be conducted.
"Gibbs has been informed that he may be questioned again should the need arise. He was cooperative and has agreed to provide any further information which may be sought later by the investigating agency. Gibbs admitted he was made the offer twice, first in 1996 and then in 2000. And he has revealed three names and we will be sending a letter [to South Africa] to seek their presence to question them in India."
Narayan noted that India had sent a first letter to South Africa in 2000 to which no reply has been received. "Gibbs's lawyers described that as a huge mistake," the police chief said.
"He is cooperating with us. He has given us a lot of leads," Narayan added. None of South Africa's current Test squad in India for the Champions Trophy were implicated, he added. "We have certain information that helps us move forward."
Gibbs has admitted accepting money from disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje to score fewer than 20 runs against India in a one-dayer during a 2000 March-April tour. He subsequently scored 74 runs and said he had "forgotten" about the deal, but was suspended and fined by the South African authorities.
Crookes, meanwhile, was asked to open the bowling during a one-day international at Nagpur on that same tour, and was taken for 69 runs in ten overs, including 53 in his first six-over spell. He was implicated in the scandal back in 2000, when his name cropped up in a taped conversation that was alleged to have been between Cronje and a representative of an Indian betting syndicate.
Narayan said the whole South African team had received a match-fixing offer in 1996 but had turned it down. India was also shaken by a betting scandal that rocked the national team in the late 1990s, but Narayan said Gibbs did not name any Indians.
Police officials took Gibbs's voice samples to match it with the telephone records that they have. Gibbs, accompanied by his lawyer Peter Whelan, arrived at the police headquarters at 11am and was questioned by a high-level team of crime branch officials led by Narayan.
"He [Gibbs] might need to appear again before the Delhi police so that the legal process can move forward and both Gibbs and his lawyer agreed that they would fully cooperate in this respect," Narayan revealed.
Gibbs went to the South African high commissioner's office after meeting the police. He is scheduled to fly back to Mumbai at 7.30pm local time to rejoin the South African squad.
Earlier, Gibbs had made it clear he could only repeat what he told the King Commission, the South African inquiry into match-fixing held in 2000.
But KK Paul, Delhi's commissioner of police, who headed the original Indian match-fixing investigation, said Gibbs would need to elaborate on the answers he had given the King Commission.
"Whatever the cricket authorities decided by way of fines and bans is a matter for them alone," Paul told The Daily Telegraph. "This is a criminal investigation into a conspiracy to defraud and is a serious matter and certain procedures must be followed. [He] will be asked a full range of questions, including about various bank accounts. I cannot predict what the outcome will be."
Gibbs had previously missed tours to India for fear he would be arrested. He is expected to join the rest of the South African squad later today.
South Africa's team spokesman, Gordon Templeton, told 702 talk radio that he had spoken to both Gibbs and his lawyer Peter Wheelan, who said the reports were inaccurate.