Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
Hasin Jahan, Mohammed Shami's wife, is understood to have backtracked on her original allegation about her husband accepting money during a recent stopover in Dubai. That allegation was the basis for the BCCI anti-corruption unit's (ACU) investigation into the matter while the board withheld Shami's central contract.
On March 13, the BCCI had asked the ACU, headed by former Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar, to complete a limited-mandate probe, "preferably" within a week, to verify if Shami had breached its code of conduct. Kumar submitted his report on Wednesday, absolving Shami of any corrupt practice, following which the BCCI handed the fast bowler a Category B contract.
One of the primary leads for the ACU to verify was whether Shami had indeed accepted any money, as alleged by Jahan, from a woman named Alisba, a Pakistan national, in Dubai, on his way back from India's tour of South Africa. Jahan had said in her statement to the Kolkata Police that money had been sent by a certain Mohammad Bhai, who is based in the UK. Shami had vehemently denied the allegations, and is understood to have done the same to the ACU during his interrogation.
The ACU team travelled to Kolkata and met Jahan in person. According to a BCCI official familiar with the investigation, Jahan is believed to have told the ACU that she never meant to say what she had. "During the ACU inquiry she [Jahan] herself said, "I never meant to make this allegation that he took money for match-fixing"," the official said.
The ACU then spoke to both Mohammad Bhai and Alisba by phone. The ACU found that the two did not know each other. The ACU also ran both names through their internal database and that of the ICC's anti-corruption unit. "Their names were run through the databases and there was no match found for either Alisba or Mohammad Bhai. Nothing came up which showed their antecedents could be shady. They are not elusive, underground, unknown people. Both have proper identification and documentation."
According to the BCCI official Mohammad Bhai is "known to several other" Indian team players and is a British passport holder who hails originally from Gujarat. Alisba, too, was "up front" and clear about events during her chat with the ACU.