London fixes it in 15 months, Delhi groping dark for 11 years

November 3rd, 2011 - 9:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 3 (IANS) It took exactly 15 months for the London Metropolitan Police to complete investigation and get conviction of Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir for spot-fixing in the Lord’s Test last year. Delhi Police are still struggling to piece together a charge sheet 11 years after blowing the lid off the match-fixing.

Delhi Police were the first to get to the bottom of the murky world of match-fixing in 2000 that involved then South African captain Hansie Cronje, who died later, his teammates Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje. Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin and his teammates Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Jadeja and Ajay Sharma were also allegedly involved.

On Thursday, when the three Pakistani cricketers along with their agent Mazhar Majeed were sentenced to jail by a London court, Delhi Police said investigation into the 2000 match-fixing case is still pending.

“The case is still open and is pending investigation. We are awaiting the results from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL),” Ashok Chand, deputy commissioner (crime branch) of Delhi Police, told IANS.

Asked why it is taking so long for Delhi Police to file a charge sheet whereas the London police wrapped up the case in a little more than a year’s time, Chand said: “Let us not mix the investigation of the two countries.”

April 7, 2000, Delhi Police made public the tapped conversation between Cronje and London-based alleged bookie Sanjeev Chawla.

Cronje, Azharuddin and Sharma were banned for life by their national boards while Gibbs was banned for six months. Jadeja was banned for five years that ended his career. Jadeja’s ban was later overturned by the Delhi High Court in January 2003, saying there is no proof of his guilt.

In 2000, Delhi Police registered an FIR against Cronje, Chawla, south Delhi-based businessman Rajesh Kalra, the late music baron Gulshan Kumar’s brother Kishan Kumar, and Sunil Dara, a Delhi-based bookie living in West Asia.

Kalra, Kumar and Dara were arrested but they were released on bail later. Two years later, Cronje died in a plane crash, making things difficult for the investigators.

Gibbs and Boje, after much dilly-dallying, travelled to India and cooperated with Delhi Police.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), which many thought has handled the issue of match-fixing with kid-gloves, feels that some of its criticisms are unfair.

Ronnie Flanagan, chairman of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), feels the criticism comes from ill-informed people.

“I find some of the criticism I have listened to very interesting and quite frankly, it comes from very ill-informed people - people who have no idea how the ACSU within the ICC goes about its business,” Flanagan said.

“People have no idea about the emphasis we put on prevention and when we have to investigate, how my investigators work so professionally hand in hand with policing colleagues, just as they have done in this case,” said Flanagan, who was the Home Office chief inspector of constabulary for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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