The match-fixing crisis August 19, 2004

Alleged bookmaker threatens legal action against ICC

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Jagdish Sodha, a Mumbai-based businessman, has served legal notice to the International Cricket Council for alleging that he was a bookie linked to Maurice Odumbe. This came a day after Odumbe was banned from cricket for five years for his involvement with bookmakers.

According to Press Trust of India, the notice was issued by Mukesh Vashi, Sodha's lawyer, and it calls upon the ICC to withdraw the allegations or else face civil and criminal proceedings.

Claiming to be a film distributer and real estate agent, Sodha said that he was shocked when the ICC's preliminary inquiry linked him with Odumbe. Speaking to The Indian Express, Sodha admitted to having been a good friend of Odumbe's, but unequivocally denied anything to do with match-fixing. "I met Maurice seven to eight years back and have been friends since," he said. "I did give him Rs25,000 (US$540 approx), but that was just to help him get accommodation when he was in Mumbai. He also needed medicines for his brother's heart surgery at discounted rates. Can't I help him for such things?"

Sodha was critical of the fact that nobody from the ICC had even contacted him, despite claiming that he was a bookie. "They [ICC] claim I'm a bookie, but have not bothered to prove it even once," he said. "Five times, the ACSU [Anti Crime and Security Unit] has been in Mumbai and they haven't bothered to meet me even once. It seems they have already assumed that I am a bookie. A fortnight back I sent them a two-million-pound legal notice."

The ICC, in its reply to the legal notice, said that thorough investigations by the ASCU had resulted in conclusive evidence from law-enforcement agencies in both India and England. They confirmed that Sodha had been found to have links with bookmaking in India. Also, according to the ICC, if Sodha initiated legal action, he would then be forced to face evidence in rebuttal from both the Indian and Metropolitan police.