Cronje-friend Banjo spotted in IPL hospitality box

May 18th, 2009 - 4:23 pm ICT by IANS  

By Abhishek Roy
Johannesburg, May 18 (IANS) Quite a few eyebrows were raised when Hamid Qasim Banjo, who shot into limelight in the Hansie Cronje match fixing scandal that rocked world cricket in 2000, walked into the VIP lounge at the New Wanderers stadium Sunday.

Banjo walked out of the hospitality box after watching just two overs of the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab.

“I am here to watch cricket. I am not talking about something I have been absolved of,” Banjo said.

Banjo, who owns a sweetmeat shop and a restaurant in downtown Johannesburg, appeared in the match-fixing case as the man who introduced the late South African skipper Cronje to London-based NRI bookie-businessman Sanjeev Chawla.

Banjo also appeared before the King Commission set-up to probe the match fixing scandal.

The IPL has been under the scanner after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) initially refused International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit’s (ACSU) services citing high costs. Banjo’s presence gave rise to ICC fears that IPL matches could be exposed to match-fixing.

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