CBI's Report on Cricket Match Fixing and Related Malpractices (Section 3 - Analysis of evidence)
(b) ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE :
In this section, the evidence (oral and documentary) against individual players/ others is discussed in detail.
AJAY SHARMA :
It has been clearly established that Ajay Sharma had nexus with bookies/punters M.K. Gupta and Ajay Gupta and his associates. He had introduced players to them, provided 'information' about matches and had also manipulated the pitch at least on one occasion to suit the betting syndicate. There is also evidence of him having received money from M.K. and Ajay Gupta for rendering this service.
According to Mukesh Kumar Gupta @ MK @ John, the first cricketer he had approached was Ajay Sharma. He first met Ajay Sharma sometime in 1988 during the Ramcharan Agarwal Tournament in Delhi and presented him Rs. 2,000/- as a token of his appreciation for one particular knock and also gave him his telephone number requesting Ajay Sharma to contact him in case of any 'problem'. MK is partially corroborated by Ajay Sharma himself who has stated that although he did not know the person who had stuffed money in his pocket during that tournament, his friend Sanjay Bharadwaj had later told him that it was MK, a cricket bookie.
MK has further stated that, during the India tour of New Zealand in 1990, Ajay Sharma used to telephonically provide him information about the weather, pitch, team composition, etc. Ajay Sharma, in his statement, has said that it was not he, but Manoj Prabhakar who was his room-mate on that tour, who used to provide this information. This appears unlikely since Manoj Prabhakar had not been personally introduced to MK during that tour and he had only a 'telephonic introduction' through Ajay Sharma. In this respect, MK's statement seems more plausible. The fact that Manoj Prabhakar was introduced to MK by Ajay Sharma is accepted by all three of them and the "personal introduction" took place sometime after the New Zealand tour but before the Indian team's tour of England in 1990.
MK has further stated that the Delhi-Bombay Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match played in Delhi in 1991 was intentionally lost by Delhi since some Delhi players were committed to playing league cricket in England, which was clashing with further Ranji Trophy matches. Ajay Sharma was a member of that team and he has corroborated MK's statement. MK added that sometime in 1995, Ajay Sharma renewed his contacts with him and asked for Rs. 15,000/- to pay for a Zen car on which there was a 'black' of Rs. 15,000/-. Ajay Sharma accepted this in his statement although he quoted the year as 1993-94.
In his statement, MK has said that Ajay Sharma introduced Azharuddin to him sometime in 1995 at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi. Both Ajay Sharma and Azharuddin corroborate this. According to MK, he paid a sum of Rs.5 lacs to Ajay Sharma for this introduction and this has been accepted by Ajay Sharma. MK has also said that Ajay Sharma accompanied him to Hyderabad to meet and settle issues with Azharuddin after the Titan Cup series 1996, when matches did not work out as planned between Azharuddin and MK. Ajay Sharma has also accepted this in his statement. All these facts clearly disclose that Ajay Sharma was acting as a conduit between M.K. and players, for which he received money from M.K.
MK has further stated that in 1996, during the India-Australia Test at Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi, he got a result-oriented pitch prepared in connivance with Ajay Sharma and Ram Adhar @ Chaudhary, a groundsman of Ferozeshah Kotla. Both Ajay Sharma and Chaudhary have accepted this fact. Ajay Sharma concedes that he received Rs. 3 lacs from MK for this arrangement and he paid Chaudhary Rs. 50,000/-. Chaudhary has corroborated this and has accepted that he received Rs. 50,000/- from Ajay Sharma. This Test incidentally ended in around 3 ½ days time with India emerging as winners. According to MK, sometime in 1996, Ajay Sharma had brought Ajay Jadeja to his Defence Colony residence for an introduction. This fact has been accepted by Ajay Sharma, who has also stated that Jadeja paid him Rs. 18,000/- out of Rs. 50,000/- which MK had paid Jadeja after the introduction. Ajay Sharma's association with MK seems to have ended sometime in 1996-97 and his association with Ajay Gupta and associates started thereafter.
Ajay Gupta, his cousin Nishit Goel, Gyan Gupta and his son Ameesh Gupta are big-time punters of Delhi who operate in unison as a group. They seem to have got into match fixing sometime in 1998. Among the aforesaid four persons, only Ajay Gupta and Nishit Goel could be examined. Gyan Gupta did not cooperate during the enquiry and his son Ameesh Gupta did not appear before CBI in spite of being summoned.
Ajay Gupta completely denied that he was into match fixing or that he was a punter. Nishit Goel denied that he was into match fixing, but he accepted that he placed bets on cricket matches. However, a number of bookies have stated that all the Guptas are big time punters. Specifically, the statements of bookies - Jai Bhagwan Gupta, Sanjeev Sacher @ Babloo and Naveen Sachdeva @ Tinkoo and Deepak Rajouri speak to this. This is further corroborated by the cell-phone printouts of Guptas which show a number of calls to Tinkoo, Babloo, Jai and another Delhi bookie, Surender Mandi during cricket matches.
Ajay Sharma has stated that he introduced Azharuddin to Ajay Gupta and others sometime in 1998 at Hotel Taj Palace in New Delhi. This is corroborated by the statement of Sanjay Anand, a member of Roshnara Club, who is a mutual friend of both Ajay Sharma and the Guptas. Ajay Sharma adds that both himself and Sanjay Anand received Rs. 5 lacs each from the Guptas for this introduction. Sanjay Anand, however, denies receiving money from the Guptas. This is partially negated by the statement of Nishit Goel who has stated that he was present at the meeting that Ajay Gupta had with Ajay Sharma, Sanjay Anand and others wherein it was decided that both Ajay Sharma and Sanjay Anand would be paid Rs.5 lacs each for introducing Azharuddin, and that, after a few months, Sanjay Anand had confirmed having received the amount to Nishit Goel.
The nexus between Ajay Sharma and Ajay Gupta is further corroborated by documentary evidence in the form of an affidavit filed by Ajay Gupta with the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) where Ajay Sharma is employed, in which he has offered to bear the expenditure of Ajay Sharma's visit to England during the World Cup-1999. Ajay Sharma, in his statement, has accepted that Ajay Gupta had financed his and his family's visit to England in 1999 during the World Cup. Ajay Sharma has also admitted that his cell phone 98111-95929 which was stolen at Gurgaon in January, 2000 was provided to him by Ajay Gupta. Ajay Sharma has also accepted in his statement that his recent calls to Azharuddin was to wish him "All the Best" and to find out whether he had spoken to the "Guptas". All these facts clearly establish Ajay Sharma's nexus with the Guptas and his role as a middleman.
There is further documentary proof of Ajay Sharma's nexus with the Guptas in the form of numerous telephone calls between them as reflected in the cell phone printouts. Ajay Sharma has made a number of calls to Ajay Gupta and Ameesh Gupta, especially just before or during cricket matches. For example, Ajay Sharma made 2 calls to Ajay Gupta on 14.3.2000. This was just one day prior to the 3rd One Day International between India-South Africa at Faridabad. Similarly, he had made 2 calls to Ajay Gupta on 22.3.2000, when India was playing a One Day match against South Africa at Sharjah.
The evidence against Ajay Sharma has to be looked into in the context of his cricket career. He has only played one Test and 33 One day Internationals. Due to the limited number of matches he has played, no evidence of his role in fixing matches in which he had played has come up. However, the facts disclosed during the inquiry, clearly establish that Ajay Sharma acted as a conduit between the players and the betting syndicates in fixing matches.
MANOJ PRABHAKAR :
The CBI enquiry has disclosed that Manoj Prabhakar, during his playing career and after retirement, had linkages with a number of bookies/punters. There is also evidence of his having underperformed and passed on information and introduced other players to the betting syndicate. There is also evidence of Prabhakar receiving money from them for rendering such services. Prabhakar has also placed bets on cricket matches.
According to Mukesh Kumar Gupta, he was introduced to Manoj Prabhakar in 1990 by Ajay Sharma, a fact endorsed by both Ajay Sharma and Manoj Prabhakar. Mukesh Kumar Gupta has further stated that he paid a sum of Rs. 40,000/- to Prabhakar before India's tour to England in 1990. He promised to pay him money equivalent to the cost of a Maruti Gypsy, with wide tyres, after the England tour, if Prabhakar provided information about weather, pitch, team composition, etc. during the tour. Mukesh Kumar Gupta has also stated that Prabhakar underperformed at his behest in one of the Tests in England, which ended in a draw. Mukesh Kumar Gupta has further stated that he kept his promise and financed Prabhakar's Gypsy, with wide tyres, after the England tour. Prabhakar has admitted to purchasing a Gypsy after the England Tour, but denied that it was financed by Mukesh Kumar Gupta. However, MK's statement in this respect appears to be more credible in view of the specific reference to Gypsy with 'wide tyres' and also the fact that Prabhakar purchased this Gypsy after the England Tour.
Mukesh Kumar Gupta further stated that Prabhakar had 'sold' him the information about the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match in 1991 between Delhi-Bombay. Prabhakar in his statement has accepted that he had provided the information that Delhi would lose the match but denied having received any money from Mukesh Kumar Gupta. It is, however, difficult to believe that Prabhakar provided this 'information' without expecting any returns. Mukesh Kumar Gupta has further stated that during the one day series in Australia just prior to the World Cup, 1992, Prabhakar had provided specific 'information' about two one dayers against Australia in which Mukesh Kumar Gupta made good money on the basis of Prabhakar's 'information'.
Mukesh Kumar Gupta has further talked about the England tour of India in 1993. He claims that in two oneday matches in that series at Gwalior, Prabhakar had provided 'information' which turned out incorrect. However, in the one dayer at Bangalore, his 'information' proved correct.
As regards the word 'information' used by MK, it is difficult to believe that in an age when television has brought cricket to our drawing rooms and expert commentators thoroughly analyse various aspects of a match like pitch, team strengths, probable result, etc., such information provided by a player is of any use to a Bookie. So, in this respect, it has to be construed that the word 'information' is a euphemism for underperforming or 'fixing'.
Mukesh Kumar Gupta has referred to a number of instances when Prabhakar had introduced him to foreign players on payment of money. Prabhakar has stated that he used to receive money only when such introduction proved profitable to Mukesh Kumar Gupta. Mukesh Kumar Gupta has stated that the following players were introduced to him by Prabhakar.
* Arvinda D'silva : Mukesh Kumar Gupta has stated that Prabhakar had introduced Arvinda D'silva to him but Prabhakar in his statement has denied it.
* Salim Malik : Prabhakar introduced Malik during a match between Wills Cup winners of Pakistan and Wills Cup winners of India. This match took place in 1991 at Delhi. Prabhakar has accepted that he introduced Salim Malik to Mukesh Kumar Gupta.
* Dean Jones : Dean Jones was introduced by Prabhakar during a festival match at Sri Lanka and Prabhakar was paid a sum of Rs. 2 lacs. Mukesh Kumar Gupta has further stated that he and Prabhakar had come back to India in the same flight from Colombo after that tournament. Prabhakar has denied that he introduced Dean Jones, but accepted that he and Mukesh Kumar Gupta had come back to India by the same flight on one occasion from Sri Lanka.
* Brian Lara : Prabhakar introduced him to MK and Prabhakar has accepted it.
* Arjuna Ranatunga : Mukesh Kumar Gupta has stated that he was introduced by Prabhakar. Latter has denied it.
* Alec Stewart : Prabhakar introduced him. Accepted by Prabhakar.
* Mark Waugh : MK was introduced to Mark Waugh by Prabhakar during a six-a-side tournament in Hong Kong. Prabhakar has accepted this in his statement.
* Gus Logie : Prabhakar had rung up Gus Logie from his (Prabhakar's) residence at Ghaziabad for an introduction to Mukesh Kumar Gupta but Logie refused to talk to him. Prabhakar has accepted this in his statement.
Apart from Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Prabhakar was also involved with punter Tipu Kohli. Tipu Kohli has stated that he used to get 'information' from Prabhakar about cricket matches, especially during the England tour of India in 1993 and also paid him a sum of Rs. 1 lac on one occasion. Prabhakar has admitted that he was very friendly with Tipu Kohli and used to provide him 'information'.
Prabhakar was also very close to another bookie Anand Saxena. Prabhakar, in his statement, has said that Anand Saxena often requested him to introduce cricket players, which he claims he had refused.
Even recent Cell phone printouts of Manoj Prabhakar show a number of calls to bookies/punters like Sanjeev Chawla, Rajesh Kalra, Sunil Dara and Rattan Mehta. Prabhakar, in his statement, has said that he is in touch with these persons for the purpose of 'investigation' into match fixing. However, significantly, none of them have figured in the "Tehelka Tapes". Moreover, Rajesh Kalra has stated that Prabhakar has placed bets on cricket matches through him and Prabhakar himself has stated that he had given his 'opinion' about certain matches on occasions to Sunil Dara. Prabhakar has also accepted that he is close to a Bombay bookie named Mashaal.
The evidence against Prabhakar discloses that, during his playing career and even after retirement, he has been very close to a number of bookies/punters. He had received money in exchange for 'information' about cricket matches from MK and Tipu Kohli. According to MK, Prabhakar had also underperformed in some matches at his behest. Further, Prabhakar had received money from MK to introduce foreign players to him. Prabhakar has denied having introduced Arvinda D'Silva, Arjuna Ranatunga and Dean Jones to MK. There are no reasons to disbelieve MK in this regard, as Prabhakar has accepted introducing/ contacting five other foreign players for MK.
The evidence against Prabhakar discloses his nexus with a wide array of bookies/punters, which has contributed significantly to corrupting cricket in India and abroad.
MOHD. AZHARUDDIN :
It is clear that Azharuddin contributed substantially towards the expanding bookie/player nexus in Indian Cricket. The enquiry has disclosed that he received large sums of money from the betting syndicates to 'fix' matches. There is also evidence which discloses that he roped in other players also to fix matches, which resulted in this malaise making further inroads into Indian cricket. The evidence against Azharuddin, which is discussed next, clearly establishes the fact that he took money from bookies/punters to fix cricket matches and also the fact that the 'underworld' had approached him to fix matches for them.
Mukesh Kumar Gupta has stated that he met Azharuddin sometime in 1995 through Ajay Sharma at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi. He paid a sum of Rs. 50 lacs as 'advance' with an arrangement that this amount would be adjusted against the matches Azharuddin would 'do' for MK. Ajay Sharma, in his statement, has corroborated that he introduced Azharuddin to Mukesh Kumar Gupta since Azharuddin wanted somebody to finance some 'fashion show' and ' charity matches'. However, Ajay Sharma has further stated that Azharuddin had told him that MK wanted him (Azharuddin) to 'do' some matches for him and Ajay Sharma had told Azharuddin that he could consider the proposal. Ajay Sharma adds that Azharuddin had telephonically confirmed to him that he had received money from MK. Azharuddin, in his statement, has admitted meeting MK through Ajay Sharma. He has further stated that MK had offered Rs. 1.25 crores but the deal did not materialise. However, the statement of MK corroborated by Ajay Sharma clearly indicates that Azharuddin was paid at least Rs.50 lakhs initially by MK to 'fix' matches.
MK has further stated that Azharuddin had specifically agreed to 'do' some matches during the Titan Cup series in 1996. But the Titan Cup Final did not turn out as arranged with Azharuddin. According to MK, after the Titan Cup Final, he, along with Ajay Sharma, went to Hyderabad and met Azharuddin to ask him to make up for the 'losses' suffered by him during the Titan Cup. Ajay Sharma has corroborated this visit to Hyderabad and also the fact that, at this meeting, Azharuddin had agreed to make up the losses suffered by MK, in future matches. MK adds that Azharuddin then gave him 'information' about two Tests at Ahmedabad and Calcutta in the 1996 series against South Africa which helped him, partially recover his losses.
Azharuddin, in his statement, has accepted receiving money from MK to fix some matches, but has stated that he 'did' only two matches for him - Titan Cup match in 1996 at Rajkot and 'some' match in Pepsi Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, 1997. This 'admission' of Azhar that he 'did' only two matches for MK during this period appears a dilution of the actual facts in the context of the amount of money he had received from MK.
MK has stated that he was introduced to Dr. Ali Irani by Azharuddin during the Ahmedabad Test against South Africa in 1996. Dr. Ali Irani has corroborated this, but stated that MK was introduced to him as 'John'. MK is categorical that some payments to Azharuddin were made through Dr. Irani. This fact has been accepted by Dr. Ali Irani, who has also stated that he used to receive a commission of Rs.25,000/- to 50,000/- from Azharuddin for receiving such payments which were running into lakhs, on each occasion. The payment of money through Dr. Irani has been further corroborated by the statement of Anil Steel, the Bombay Bookie and an associate of MK, who has stated that, on two occasions, he made payments of around Rs.20-25 lakhs each to Dr. Irani at Nanawati Hospital, on behalf of MK.
MK has further stated that Azharuddin had introduced Hansie Cronje to him during the third Test between India and South Africa at Kanpur, 1996. Azharuddin has admitted this fact. Further, there is also documentary proof in the form of hotel records which show that MK had stayed at Hotel Landmark, Kanpur, where both the teams were staying during the Test. MK has further stated that in the Sahara Cup, 1997, at Toronto, Sangeeta Bijlani used to provide him 'information' through cell phone which, however, generally proved to be incorrect.
Ajay Sharma has said that he introduced Azharuddin to Ajay Gupta and associates sometime in 1998 at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi. This fact is further corroborated by the statement of Sanjay Anand. Azharuddin has accepted that he met Ajay Gupta to seek his help in getting a petrol outlet allotted at Bangalore, but later on admitted that Ajay Gupta had approached him to 'fix' some matches. Ajay Sharma has stated that, on one occasion, he had collected Rs. 15 lacs from Ajay Gupta on Azharuddin's behalf and deposited the money in the locker of Azharuddin at Hotel Taj Palace through the then Food and Beverages Manager, Anil Saxena. This fact has been further corroborated by Anil Saxena, the then Food and Beverages Manager at Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi, who used to handle Azharuddin's locker in his absence.
Nishit Goel, cousin of Ajay Gupta, has stated that he had 'heard' that Azharuddin was paid around Rs. 25 lacs by the Guptas initially. Azharuddin, however, does not remember how much money was paid by the Guptas to him to 'fix' matches. The evidence regarding Azharuddin possessing a locker at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi is further strengthened by the statement of MK who has stated that he had 'recovered' Rs. 30 lacs from that locker through Anil Saxena and Ajay Sharma, when matches did not turn out as arranged with Azharuddin after the Sahara Cup in 1997.
The nexus between Azharuddin and Ajay Gupta is further corroborated through their cell phone print outs which disclose frequent calls between Azharuddin and Ajay Gupta/ Ameesh Gupta especially during matches. For example, Azharuddin made a call on 6.3.2000 to Ajay Gupta. This was the last day of India-South Africa Test Match at Bangalore. Similarly, Azharuddin made a call on 19.3.2000 to Ajay Gupta. This was on the day of India-South Africa One Day International at Nagpur (he was not in the team). Azharuddin has in his statement accepted that he was provided a cell phone- 9811150860 by the Guptas. Further, Azharuddin has also accepted that Ameesh Gupta paid for his shopping at "Harrods" London in 1999 during the World Cup. There is more documentary evidence in the form of hotel bills paid by Nishit Goel for Azharuddin's stay at Hotel Taj Palace on two occasions - on 2.2.2000 and 8.2.2000. The total amount of money paid by Nishit Goel to Hotel Taj on the aforesaid occasions is around Rs. 37,000/-
Finally, Azharuddin in his statement, has specifically recalled that he 'did' the match between India and Pakistan at Jaipur for the Guptas during the Pepsi Cup match, 1999, after which he received around Rs. 10 lacs from an 'unknown' person, on behalf of Guptas. However, in view of the large amount of money Azhar has received from Guptas and the 'hospitality' he has enjoyed through them, it is very difficult to believe that he 'did' only one match for them.
Azharuddin has also stated during his examination that Abu Salem had rung him up on a couple of occasions to fix matches but he had refused. Ali Irani, in his statement, has said that Azharuddin had told him once that "he was 'doing' matches for Anees Ibrahim and hence, he cannot do with anyone else".
AJAY JADEJA :
Ajay Jadeja has close relations with a number of bookies/punters, including Rajesh Kalra, Rattan Mehta, Uttam Chand, Krishan Kumar (implicated in the Hansie Cronje case) and Ajay Gupta. He has also given "judgement" and "information" regarding cricket matches to Uttam Chand and Rattan Mehta. It has emerged in the enquiry that Ajay Jadeja met M.K. Gupta in 1996 and offered to 'do' matches for him. As he could not promise the help of other players except one, the deal did not materialise. Both M.K. Gupta and Uttam Chand have stated that they paid money to Ajay Jadeja.
At the insistence of M.K. Gupta, Ajay Sharma introduced Ajay Jadeja to M.K. Gupta in 1996. M.K. Gupta has stated that Ajay Jadeja came to his house along with Ajay Sharma and a girl and offered to "do" matches for him. However, no deal could be struck as Ajay Jadeja was only offering his services along with those of Nayan Mongia. M.K. Gupta has further stated that he paid a sum of Rs. 50,000/- to Jadeja during this meeting. Ajay Sharma has corroborated the statement of M.K. Gupta and has further stated that of the Rs. 50,000/- paid by M.K. Gupta, Jadeja kept Rs. 32,000/- himself to purchase a cell phone and gave the remaining Rs. 18,000/- to him. On the other hand, Ajay Jadeja has stated that he does not remember meeting M.K. Gupta, since he had met so many people in his life. He has also denied having received Rs. 50,000/- from M.K. Gupta. Anil Steel, a bookie from Bombay has also stated that he once saw Ajay Jadeja in the hotel room of M.K. Gupta in Calcutta during the inaugural ceremony of the World Cup Cricket, 1996, which corroborates the links between Jadeja and M.K.
During the enquiry, a print-out of the cell phone number 98100 34882 of Ajay Jadeja for the period from 15.9.99 to 30.4.2000 was taken and studied. A scrutiny of the print-out has disclosed that Ajay Jadeja had made and received telephone calls in varying numbers from and to Rajesh Kalra, a punter, Rattan Mehta, a big time punter, Uttam Chand, a bookie/punter, Ajay Gupta, a punter and Krishan Kumar (implicated in the Hansie Cronje case). When questioned about these contacts, Ajay Jadeja stated that he knew Kalra as they visited the same Gym at Hotel Park Royal. Jadeja, however, denied that he ever discussed cricket with Rajesh Kalra or passed on any information about cricket matches to him.
Ajay Jadeja accepts that he knows Krishan Kumar, but he did not have any knowledge that he was a punter. He admits that he is very close to Rattan Mehta but denies that he knew Rattan Mehta was a big-time punter. Ajay Jadeja has specifically denied that he fixed matches for Rattan Mehta. Rattan Mehta in his examination supported the statement of Ajay Jadeja about being close to him and admitted taking Ajay Jadeja's 'judgement' on certain matches. It is, however, difficult to accept Jadeja's statement that he did not know that Rattan Mehta was a big time punter, given his accepted closeness to Rattan Mehta. Jadeja's statement is further suspect in the light of the statement of Pawan Puri, a punter of Delhi, who has stated that he had travelled with Ajay Jadeja on a flight from Mumbai to Delhi during which they discussed cricket matches and Jadeja had at that time told him that he had "done" matches for Rattan Mehta during the India, 'India - A' and 'India - B', Challenger Trophy in February, 2000. (Ajay Jadeja was the Captain of India - B Team which lost both its matches.)
Md. Azharuddin, during his examination, stated that in the Titan Cup Series in 1996, he had 'made' matches for M.K. Gupta and that Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia were also involved with him. In his statement, Dr. Ali Irani has also stated that he had absolutely no doubt about the involvement of Ajay Jadeja with Azharuddin, and that in 1996, during a one-day match, Ajay Jadeja had also told him not to talk about "such things" to him as he was no longer into it. Dr. Ali Irani has further stated that he suspected that Ajay Jadeja made this statement to him, because by that time ,Jadeja probably knew that Azharuddin had confided to him (Dr. Ali Irani) about match-fixing.
Another major bookie/punter Uttam Chand, during his examination, has stated that he used to get "information" regarding various aspects of the match from Jadeja in matches in which India was playing. On the basis of information provided by Jadeja, he used to further place bets. Uttam Chand has also disclosed that he paid a sum of Rs. 1 lakh initially at the time when he was introduced to Ajay Jadeja at a function in Hotel Chola Sheraton in Chennai, and later he paid a sum of Rs. 5 lakhs through 'Hawala' transfer when Ajay Jadeja was in Mumbai during a match. Ajay Jadeja has denied that he received any money from Uttam Chand. He has also stated that initially he only thought that Uttam Chand was his 'fan' and used to talk to him in order to avoid the nuisance of continuous calls from him. Jadeja has further stated that, after some time, he did get an inkling that Uttam Chand was a bookie. On being asked as to why he continued talking to Uttam Chand even after coming to know that he was a bookie, Jadeja could not provide a satisfactory answer.
The assertion of Jadeja that often he would talk to Uttam Chand only to get rid of the nuisance of continuous telephone calls is difficult to accept, as Jadeja could very easily have firmly told Uttam Chand not to ring him up. He could also have declined to take any calls from Uttam Chand. On the contrary, he not only accepted calls from Uttam Chand and talked to him for minutes, but also, on occasions, returned the call of Uttam Chand. The timings of the call between Uttam Chand and Jadeja also suggest great familiarity between the two as there have been a number of calls around midnight. It seems peculiar as to why Jadeja should be talking to a bookie/punter around midnight, specially when he is scheduled to play a match the next morning. It is also of interest that Uttam Chand and Jadeja have spoken to each other, only a day prior to a match or on the day of the match. There have been no calls between them during a gap between two series or even during a gap in matches during a particular series. The connection between Uttam Chand and Jadeja is, therefore, not innocent. The connection between the two becomes further suspect as telephone calls in the print-out of Uttam Chand's Cell Phone No. 98400 37700 show that on occasions after talking to Jadeja he has spoken to wellknown bookies such as Shobhan Mehta of Mumbai and Hans Kumar Jain of Delhi etc.
A random sample of Cell phone calls between Jadeja and Uttam Chand are reproduced below as an illustration . Many of the calls made by Uttam Chand to Jadeja are of short duration and these are probably messages left in the voice mail:-
1. 10.10.1999 - 2 calls from Uttam Chand to Jadeja. They were made on the first day of 1st Test Match between India and New Zealand at Mohali.
2. 11.10.1999 - 8 calls from Uttam Chand to Jadeja. These were made on the 2nd day of the Mohali Test Match.
3. 12.10.1999 - 23 calls from Uttam Chand on the third day of the Test Match.
4. 13.10.1999 - 46 calls from Uttam Chand on the fourth day of the Test Match.
5. 14.10.1999 - 1 call from Uttam Chand on the last day of Mohali Test Match.
6. 28.10.1999 - 24 calls from Uttam Chand. This was one day prior to the Third Test Match between India - New Zealand at Ahmedabad.
7. 29.10.1999 - 13 calls from Uttam Chand. This was the first day of the 3rd Test Match.
8. 30.10.1999 - 62 calls from Uttam Chand on the 2nd day of the Test Match.
9. 31.10.1999 - 30 calls from Uttam Chand. This was the third day of the Test Match.
10. 01.11.1999 - 50 calls from Uttam Chand on the 4th day of the Test Match.
11. 02.11.1999 - 14 calls from Uttam Chand on the last day of the Test Match.
12. 13.11.1999 - 48 calls from Uttam Chand to Jadeja and 1 call from Jadeja to Uttam Chand. This was one day prior to the India-New Zealand one-dayer at Guwahati.
13. 14.11.1999 - 5 calls from Uttam Chand on the day of Guwahati onedayer.
14. 16.11.1999 - 55 calls from Uttam Chand to Jadeja and 1 from Jadeja to Uttam Chand one day prior to the 5th one dayer between India and New Zealand at Delhi.
15. 11.3.2000 - Uttam Chand has made 28 calls. This was one day prior to the one-dayer between India-South Africa at Jamshedpur.
16. 12.3.2000 - Uttam Chand has made 3 calls on the day of the Jamshedpur one-dayer.
The evidence against Ajay Jadeja clearly establishes that he has been close to a number of bookies/punters and has provided them "information" about cricket matches on payment of money. However, it has to be surmised that no bookie/punter will pay money for 'information', which is very easily available on television and the word is used as a subterfuge for underperforming and match-fixing.
Ajay Jadeja was extremely intransigent during his examination, and, even when confronted with evidence, issued bland denials.
NAYAN MONGIA :
His name has figured in match fixing and related malpractices in the statements of Azharuddin, Dr. Ali Irani, Ajay Sharma and others. In fact, Azharuddin has stated that he used to rope in Mongia also whenever he 'did' matches. However, in spite of strong suspicion against Nayan Mongia, due to lack of corroboration on material particulars, the evidence against him is not all that strong. The evidence against Mongia is discussed in detail below.
Azharuddin has said that the other Indian players involved with him are Nayan Mongia and Ajay Jadeja. He has, however, not disclosed specific amounts of money paid to Mongia and Jadeja. Azharuddin has, however, specified two matches in which Nayan Mongia was involved with him - the Titan Cup match at Rajkot and India-Pakistan one-dayer at Jaipur in 1999. Dr. Ali Irani has stated that one of the players involved with Azhar was Mongia. Ajay Sharma has also stated that Nayan Mongia used to operate through Azhar. MK, in his statement, has said that when Ajay Jadeja met him sometime in 1996 at his residence, he could 'promise' only Mongia and hence, the deal did not come through. Sh. IS Bindra has stated that once Ali Irani had told him that Mongia was one of the players who had placed bets in England on a match not involving India.
Nayan Mongia, in his statement, has denied that he has intentionally underperformed in any match. He has also stated that he does not know any Bookie. His telephone analysis does not disclose any contacts with known bookies. However, Mongia has not been able to explain his slow batting at Kanpur in the 1994 one-dayer against West Indies. Prabhakar has stated that when Mongia came to the crease, he told Prabhakar to bat slowly and preserve wickets. Mongia has not explained as to who passed on such instructions to him. The Coach during that series, Ajit Wadekar, Captain Azharuddin, Vice-Captain Sachin Tendulkar have all denied having given such instructions. In the circumstances, it has to be presumed that it was Nayan Mongia who, on his own, passed the instructions.
The evidence against Mongia is not strong. There is no direct evidence of any player/bookie having paid Mongia money to under perform. Azharuddin's statement does carry weight since he has implicated himself as well, but is not conclusive proof of the involvement of Nayan Mongia. However, it has to be stated that Nayan Mongia could have only operated through other established stars since for a bookie/punter, he was not as 'valuable' as Azhar or Jadeja, to be approached individually.
Even though there is no direct evidence linking Nayan Mongia in match fixing, his being named by various sources and the fact that he is not able to explain his slow batting and passing of instructions to Manoj Prabhakar to preserve wickets rather than go for runs in the India- West Indies one-dayer in Kanpur in 1994 does bring him under strong suspicion.
DR. ALI IRANI :
CBI enquiry has disclosed that Dr. Ali Irani, Physio of the Indian Team (between 1987 to 1997), acted as a conduit between Mohd. Azharuddin and the betting syndicate. Evidence has disclosed that Dr. Ali Irani was collecting money on behalf of Azhar from MK and his associates and that he used to get a 'commission' from Azhar for this service. The evidence against Dr. Irani is discussed below.
MK has stated that Azharuddin had introduced him to Dr. Irani during the Ahmedabad Test against South Africa in 1996. Dr. Ali Irani in his statement has admitted that he was introduced to MK, by Azharuddin but knew him only as 'John'.
MK has further stated that Azharuddin had directed him to make payments towards the matches he 'did' for MK through Dr. Ali Irani. MK has also stated that on, some occasions, money to Azharuddin was paid through Dr. Irani. Dr. Irani has also admitted that he accepted money from MK and his 'representatives' on behalf of Azharuddin on a number of occasions and some of the transactions were to the tune of 10 to 15 lacs. This is also corroborated by the statement of Anil Steel that on two occasions, he had made payments to Ali Irani on behalf of MK. Dr. Irani has also confessed that he used to get around Rs. 25,000/- to 50,000/- on each occasion for rendering this service to Azharuddin. However, Azharuddin was silent about Dr. Ali Irani during his examination.
NIKHIL CHOPRA :
He figured in the enquiry since his cell phone analysis has disclosed four calls to known Bookies/punters. However, the enquiry has not brought forth evidence to indicate his involvement in match fixing/betting.
Nikhil Chopra's cell phone analysis (15.9.99 to 15.4.2000) has disclosed two calls to Rajesh Kalra, one to Sanjeev Chawla and one to Rattan Mehta, all, well known punters of Delhi. Nikhil Chopra has denied making calls to Sanjeev Chawla and Rattan Mehta and has also stated that he does not know them. He has conceded that he knows Rajesh Kalra, whom he had met in the gym at Hotel Park Royal, but denied giving him any information about cricket matches. Rajesh Kalra has stated that he had once called up Nikhil Chopra during the onedayer at Nagpur in March 2000 between India-South Africa to find out whether Chopra was playing or not. Ajay Sharma has said that Chopra once asked him whether he knew any bookies since his 'sala' (brotherin-law) was interested in betting.
The evidence against Nikhil Chopra only discloses that he may have spoken to some bookies/ punters. There is no evidence so far which discloses that he was into betting/ match-fixing.
NAVJOT SINGH SIDHU:
His name has figured through information from a number of sources as a possible suspect in match fixing and related malpractices. However, the evidence against him which is discussed in detail, hereunder, is in the nature of 'hearsay'. There is no direct evidence against Sidhu to conclusively establish his role in match fixing.
MK has said that whenever Manoj Prabhakar 'fixed' a match for him, Prabhakar used to say that Sidhu was also with him. Ajay Sharma has also said that Sidhu was in league with Prabhakar and had in fact once showed him a bag containing a large amount of money, that Sidhu allegedly stated was 'Black Money' which he would show as his farm income.
Navjot Singh Sidhu has denied that he has ever been approached by any bookie or he has underperformed intentionally in any match. Manoj Prabhakar has not disclosed anything about Sidhu's involvement with him.
DELHI PLAYERS :
The enquiry has disclosed that Delhi players intentionally lost the Ranji Trophy Quarter final match against Bombay in 1991. This was basically done to facilitate the participation of some Delhi Players in league cricket in England, which would have clashed with further Ranji Trophy engagements. However, the conduct of Delhi players (other than Manoj Prabhakar) is more in the realm of unethical sporting behaviour and does not disclose any nexus with the betting syndicate. The evidence against Delhi players is discussed next.
Mukesh Kumar Gupta has stated that Manoj Prabhakar had 'sold' him the information that the Delhi team had decided to lose the Ranji Trophy Quarterfinal Match, 1991, against Bombay. Manoj Prabhakar has corroborated MK's statement and said that some of the Delhi players were contracted to play league cricket in England, which was clashing with further Ranji Trophy Matches and Delhi players had decided to lose the match against Bombay. Ajay Sharma has further corroborated MK's and Prabhakar's statement. Another member of that team, Maninder Singh, has also stated that the Delhi team was 'not serious' about winning that match. This has been further corroborated by Atul Wassan, who has however stated that there was no conscious decision to lose the match. Kirti Azad has stated that he was not aware of any such decision by the Delhi players. CBI has not examined other members of that Delhi side.
However, there is no evidence to indicate that any player other than Prabhakar received money from MK or anyone else for trading information regarding their decision to lose the match.
KAPIL DEV :
CBI has conducted an in-depth enquiry into Kapil Dev's possible role in match fixing and related malpractices. The enquiry has focussed on Manoj Prabhakar's allegations against Kapil Dev and also delved into Kapil Dev and his associate's linkages, if any, with the betting syndicate. The enquiry has so far not disclosed any evidence of Kapil Dev's role in match fixing and related malpractices.
Manoj Prabhakar has stated that during the Singer Cup, 1994, at Colombo, Sri Lanka, Kapil had offered him Rs. 25 lacs to underperform in the match against Pakistan. According to Prabhakar, Kapil Dev had come to his room when he was in the bathroom and Prabhakar's room-mate Sidhu called him out and told him that 'Paaji' had come with some offer. Thereafter, Kapil offered him Rs. 25 lacs to underperform in the next match against Pakistan. Prabhakar has further stated that he started shouting at Kapil and accused him of 'selling' the country. He has stated that Navjot Singh Sidhu was also present when this incident took place. Prabhakar added that, on hearing the commotion, Prashant Vaidya, who was in the adjoining room also came to his room to find out the reasons for the commotion. Prabhakar has further stated that after this incident, he reported the matter to Ajit Wadekar , the Coach and Mohd. Azharuddin, the Captain, during that series. He also informed Ravi Shashtri and Sunil Gavaskar about the incident.
The only 'eyewitness' to this alleged incident, as claimed by Manoj, is Navjot Singh Sidhu. He has completely denied that any such incident took place in his presence. He has stated that Prabhakar had once casually told him during that series that Kapil Dev had made him an 'offer'. The possible 'chance' witness - Prashant Vaidya - has also stated that he has no knowledge of any such incident and had heard about it for the first time when somebody from the 'Outlook' magazine approached him sometime in 1997 for his version of the alleged incident. Vaidya's room mate during that tour, Nayan Mongia has also denied any knowledge of this incident. Ajit Wadekar and Mohd. Azharuddin have also denied that Prabhakar had told them about the incident.
Only Ravi Shastri has stated that Prabhakar had told him about the alleged offer about 3 to 4 days after the alleged incident, but he did not believe him.
Prabhakar was also asked by CBI vide letter dated 30.8.2000, whether he would volunteer to undergo Lie Detection Test to substantiate his allegations. He agreed for a conditional Lie Detection Test. However, he did not respond to our request to appear for Lie Detection Test between 25.9.2000 to 28.9.2000.
Kapil Dev has completely denied that he had made any 'offer' to Prabhakar during the Singer Cup, 1994. He has also stated that he never had the best of relationship with Prabhakar and has cited two incidents which could have motivated Prabhakar to make allegations against him. One of these incidents relates to the 1987 series in England, when Kapil Dev included Madan Lal in the playing eleven at the expense of Prabhakar, although Madan Lal was not in the original team and was only playing league cricket in England. The other incident relates to the advice given by Kapil Dev to the Escort Management not to include Prabhakar in the Board of Directors of Escorts Ltd.
CBI has also gone through the 'Tehelka Tapes' and evaluated the observations made about Kapil Dev by Jaywant Lele, Ajit Wadekar, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Prashant Vaidya, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, etc., but no credible and actionable evidence can be deduced from their observations.
There is thus no credible evidence to substantiate the allegation of Manoj Prabhakar that Kapil Dev had offered him Rs. 25 lacs to underperform during the Singer Cup Series, 1994, in Sri Lanka.
Kapil Dev was also probed with regard to his linkages, if any, with the betting syndicate. His telephone/cell phone analysis has not disclosed any contact with bookies/punters. Two of his close associates Karun Dube and Hiren Hathi were also enquired into to find whether Kapil Dev could have operated through them. The enquiry has not disclosed either Karun Dube or Hiren Hathi having linkages with the betting syndicate. Their telephone/ cell phone analysis has also not indicated any contacts with bookies/punters.
Uttamchand, a bookie from Chennai, has stated that Kapil Dev had on one occasion played cards in a large group at Hotel Adyar Park Sheraton, Chennai. Although Uttamchand was a part of that card playing group, he did not personally know Kapil Dev and the 'card group' was also organised by one Hira Lal and not by him. Kapil Dev has admitted that he is fond of playing cards and has been to card sessions at Hotel Adyar Park in the company of Bharat Reddy, ex-wicket keeper of India. However, there is no evidence of any contact between Uttamchand and Kapil Dev thereafter.
Kapil Dev is very close to Ajay Jadeja and has stated that Jadeja is like a son to him. However, there is no evidence to indicate that Kapil Dev has used Jadeja as a conduit to the betting syndicate.
With regard to the 1999 Ahmedabad Test against New Zealand, Sachin Tendulkar has stated that the decision not to enforce follow-on was collective, influenced by the fact that bowlers, especially Srinath, had expressed that they were too tired. Kapil Dev has corroborated this version. Moreover, both of them have stated that the decision was arrived at during the lunch on the 4th day. There is no evidence that Kapil Dev had passed on any information to the betting syndicate about this match.
In the case of Kapil Dev, no evidence has surfaced so far of his linkages with the betting syndicate, both during his playing career and after retirement. In fact, the CBI has examined a number of bookies/ punters of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Lucknow, and other places, but the name of Kapil Dev does not figure as a possible suspect in any of their statements.
In conclusion, it can be said that there is no credible evidence to prove Prabhakar's allegations against Kapil Dev and further, of Kapil Dev's linkages with the betting syndicate during his playing career or after retirement.
FOREIGN PLAYERS :
In this section, the evidence that has come up during CBI enquiry against players of other countries is discussed;
Sri Lanka : MK has stated that Arvinda D'silva and Arjuna Ranatunga were introduced to him by Manoj Prabhakar. Manoj Prabhakar has denied this. However, MK has further stated that both Ranatunga and D'silva had 'fixed' the Lucknow Test in 1994 between India-Sri Lanka. He has added that he had paid a sum of $ 15,000/- to D'silva for 'doing' that match. He has further stated that Arvinda D'silva had 'telephonically introduced' him to Martin Crowe in New Zealand sometime in 1991.
New Zealand : MK has stated that he met Martin Crowe in New Zealand, sometime in 1991, after being introduced by D'silva. He has stated that he met Martin Crowe at his residence and Crowe's wife Simone was also present during the meeting. MK has further stated that he paid a sum of $20,000/- to Crowe to get information about the pitch, team composition, weather, etc. whenever the New Zealand team played. However, MK says that Crowe refused to fix any matches for him.
Australia : Mukesh Kumar Gupta has stated that he was introduced to Dean Jones by Manoj Prabhakar in Sri Lanka during a festival match. Manoj Prabhakar has denied this. MK has further stated that he had offered a sum of $ 40,000/- to Jones to provide him 'information' about Australian Team's strategy, morale, pitch conditions, weather, etc. whenever they played. Jones refused the offer and told MK that Alan Border had seen him talking to MK and that if Border came to know of the link between the two, Jones' career would be in jeopardy.
MK has also stated that he was introduced to Mark Waugh by Prabhakar during a six-a-side tournament in Hong Kong. Prabhakar has accepted this fact. MK has further stated that he paid a sum of $ 20,000/- to Mark Waugh to provide 'information' about pitch, weather, team strategy, morale etc. whenever Australia played.
England : MK has stated that Alec Stewart was introduced to him by Manoj Prabhakar in 19933. Prabhakar has also accepted this fact. MK discloses that he paid 5000 pounds to Alec Stewart in exchange for information about pitch, weather, team composition, etc. whenever England played. MK has further stated that Alec Stewart, however, refused to fix any matches for him.
West Indies : MK has stated that Prabhakar had tried to 'telephonically introduce' him to Gus Logie, who, however, refused to talk to MK. Prabhakar has confirmed this in his statement. MK discloses that Prabhakar introduced him to Brian Lara. Prabhakar has accepted this in his statement. According to MK, he paid a sum of $ 40,000 to Brian Lara to underperform in two one dayers when West Indies toured India in 1994.
South Africa : MK has stated that he was introduced to Hansie Cronje by Mohd. Azharuddin in 1996 during the India-South Africa Test at Kanpur. Azharuddin has also accepted this in his statement. MK has further stated that he paid a sum of $40,000 to Cronje on the third day of Kanpur Test to ensure that South Africa lost and also as an 'investment' for future. He has also stated that Cronje wanted to 'tie-up' the Mohinder Amarnath benefit match at Bombay with him, but informed him at around 3 a.m. on the day of the match that it would not be possible. MK has further stated that he had got around $ 50,000 transferred to the bank account of Hansie Cronje in South Africa to 'fix' matches when India toured South Africa in 1996-97. He has, however, stated that most of the matches did not turn out as arranged with Cronje.
Pakistan : MK has stated that Salim Malik was introduced to him by Manoj Prabhakar at Delhi before a match between Wills Cup winners of Pakistan and Wills Cup winners of India. Prabhakar has accepted this in his statement. The match MK is referring to was played between Habib Bank of Pakistan and Wills-XI of India on October 13,1991 at Ferozeshah Kotla. MK has stated that he paid a sum of Rs. 8 lacs to Salim Malik to fix that match without the knowledge of Javed Miandad who was captaining the Pakistani side. MK has stated that he does not know who were the other players roped in by Malik. The match was won by Wills-XI India after a tight finish. The scores were :
Habib Bank - 232 for 4 in 45 overs
Salim Malik 32 (run out)
Wills XI - 236 for 8 in 44.3 overs
MK has also stated that Salim Malik had given him the 'information' during Singer Cup, 1994 at Sri Lanka that Pakistan would lose a particular match against Australia in that series, which turned out to be correct.
Rattan Mehta, a big time punter of Delhi, has stated that he is on very friendly terms with some Pakistani players including Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Saeed Anwar and Inzamam-Ul-Haq. He has also stated that he has on some occasions sought their 'judgment' on matches involving Pakistan. He further stated that he had given some 'small gifts' to Pakistan players on a few occasions.
Anil Steel, the bookie from Mumbai, has stated that he is on very friendly terms with Asif Iqbal, the former Pakistan Captain. He has also stated that he has sought 'information' from Asif Iqbal about International matches and has also given him 'gifts' of jewellery items, etc. Anil Steel has disclosed that he introduced MK to Asif Iqbal during the World Cup inaugural ceremony at Calcutta in 1996. MK has stated that Asif Iqbal had introduced him to Jaisurya at Sharjah, sometime in 1996.
CBI has not conducted in-depth enquiry into the linkages of overseas players with Indian bookies/ punters. Foreign players have also not been examined to verify the evidence of Indian bookies/ punters.
The evidence that has emerged during the enquiry till now against various Indian and foreign players has been discussed in detail. However, certain other leads, which require verification have emerged during the enquiry and the enquiry will therefore continue. There is also a possibility of more evidence being unearthed with regard to some of the players against whom allegations of match-fixing and related malpractices are already established. Some of the bookies/ punters examined by CBI have hinted that malpractices have crept into the veterans circuit as well. Enquiry will continue with regard to these aspects also.