World-wide web spun by Indian bookmakers

Main points of match-fixing report by the Central Bureau of Investigation suggest that the game suffers from widespread corruption.
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The Independent Online

To identify betting syndicates in India and examine their activities; to unravel the links between players and the syndicates and identify the players' roles in alleged malpractices; to examine the role and function of the Board of Control for Cricket in India to evaluate whether it could have prevented malpractices.

To identify betting syndicates in India and examine their activities; to unravel the links between players and the syndicates and identify the players' roles in alleged malpractices; to examine the role and function of the Board of Control for Cricket in India to evaluate whether it could have prevented malpractices.

Collation of evidence

All available information about players, ex-players, bookmakers and middle men suspected of involvement was collated. This included details (i.e.: times and durations) of phone calls between suspects. The report says: "It is emphasised at the very outset that the cricketing fraternity, generally speaking, maintained a 'conspiracy of silence' and were rarely forthcoming with any specific information relevant to the enquiry. Not a single player, ex-player or official, other than those who had made vague and general allegations in the media, volunteered any information to CBI."

Validity of conclusions

The majority of the report's conclusions, especially concerning foreign international players, are based on the evidence of numerous bookmakers, especially Mukesh Kumar Gupta, also known as "MK" or "John". A number of players, including England's Alec Stewart, who, it is alleged, received money from him, deny that they did so. The report does not provide conclusive proof of wrong-doing. The report says: "The CBI has not conducted an in-depth enquiry into the linkages of overseas players with Indian bookies/punters. Foreign players have not been examined to verify the evidence of Indian bookies/punters."

Mukesh Kumar Gupta (aka 'MK', aka 'John')

Now a Delhi jewellery shop owner, MK was a former gambler and bookmaker and is at the heart of the most damning accusations. After introducing himself to the Indian international, Ajay Sharma, in 1988, he later became friendly with Sharma's team-mate, Manoj Prabhakar. MK told the CBI that Prabhakar introduced him to several international cricketers, who took payments for either "information" or for fixing matches. Australia's Mark Waugh and Shane Warne and South Africa's Hansie Cronje have previously admitted to receiving money from MK.

Alleged involvement in malpractice by non-Indian players

England

The report says: "MK has stated that Alec Stewart was introduced to him by Manoj Prabhakar in 1993. Prabhakar has also accepted this fact. MK discloses that he paid £5,000 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

The report says: "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 [£26,000] to Brian Lara to under-perform in two one-day matches when West Indies toured India in 1994."

Sri Lanka

The report says: "MK has stated that Arvinda D'Silva [sic] and Arjuna Ranatunga were introduced to him by Manoj Prabhakar. Manoj Prabhakar has denied this. However, MK has further stated that both Ranatunga and De Silva had 'fixed' the Lucknow Test in 1994 between India and Sri Lanka. He has added that he had paid a sum of $15,000 [£9,700] to De Silva for 'doing' that match. He has further stated that Arvinda De Silva had 'telephonically introduced' him to Martin Crowe [former captain of New Zealand] in New Zealand sometime in 1991."

New Zealand

The report says: "MK has stated that he met Martin Crowe in New Zealand, sometime in 1991, after being introduced by De 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 [£12,900] 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

The report says: "MK 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 [£26,000] 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 [sic] 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 [£12,900] to Mark Waugh to provide 'information' about pitch, weather, team strategy, morale, etc, whenever Australia played."

South Africa

The report says: "MK has stated that he was introduced to Hansie Cronje by Mohammad 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 [£26,000] 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 [£32,000] 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

The report says: "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 800,000 rupees [£12,000 at today's exchange rate] 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. 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."

Mohammad Azharuddin

Arguably the CBI report's most damning evidence is against the former Indian captain, Azharuddin. The report says: "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 [an estimated total of at least around 10m rupees, or £150,000 at today's exchange rate] 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 report adds that Azharuddin, in a statement to the CBI, admitted taking money to fix two matches, but the CBI doubts whether this was the full extent of his involvement. The report says: "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." Azharuddin told the CBI that his accomplices in match-fixing included his international team-mates, Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia. Both men told the CBI they had not conspired with Azharuddin to fix matches.

The report says that Azharuddin was involved with gambling figures other than MK, including the gambler Ajay Gupta. Azharuddin told the CBI that Gupta approached him to fix matches. Gupta denied this. The report says: "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 [and his brother, Ameesh], especially during matches... Azharuddin has in his statement accepted that he was provided a cell phone by the Guptas. Further, Azharuddin has also accepted that Ameesh Gupta paid for his shopping at Harrods, London, in 1999 during the World Cup... 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."

CBI's conclusions on BCCI

The report says: "The BCCI has been negligent in not preventing match-fixing and related malpractices in cricket in spite of clear signals about the malaise. This is mainly due to the fact that, for most office-bearers of BCCI, running the Board is an end in itself and the future of cricket is only incidental." On the world game as a whole, the report concludes: "The romanticism associated with the game is perhaps gone for ever. Increasingly, in the playing fields around the world, the music of a sweetly timed stroke is being replaced by the harsh cacophony of ringing cell phones. Both inducements and threats to players are bound to increase in view of the big money involved in gambling on cricket and the entry of the underworld. Major corrective steps need to be taken to put cricket back on rails."

LEADING PLAYERS ALLEGED TO HAVE RECEIVED MONEY FROM BOOKMAKERS

ARJUNA RANATUNGA (Sri Lanka)

'Paid for fixing Lucknow Test in 1994 against India and introduced bookmaker MK to New Zealand captain Martin Crowe'

ALEC STEWART (England)

'MK discloses he paid £5,000 in exchange for information about pitches, weather, team composition, etc'

BRIAN LARA (West Indies)

'According to MK, was paid $40,000 (£26,000) to under-perform in two one-day matches in India during 1994'

MANOJ PRABHAKAR (India)

'Admits to introducing a number of players, including Alec Stewart, Brian Lara, Mark Waugh and Salim Malik, to MK'

MOHAMMAD AZHARUDDIN (India)

'Admitted to accepting money to fix two matches. He received £150,000 and aided the expansion of the betting operation'

MARTIN CROWE (New Zealand)

'MK went to Crowe's residence in presence of his wife and paid him $20,000 [£12,900] forinformation on pitches, etc'

MARK WAUGH (Australia)

'MK stated that he paid a sum of $20,000 [£12,900] to Waugh to provide "information" about pitches, weather, strategy, etc'

ARAVINDA DE SILVA (Sri Lanka)

'MK states he paid $15,000 for fixing a 1994 Test. De Silva introduced him to Martin Crowe in 1991 via telephone'

HANSIE CRONJE (South Africa)

'MK states he paid $40,000 to lose a Test in 1996. He also paid around $50,000 to fix matches when India toured in 1996-97'

SALIM MALIK (Pakistan)

'MK stated he paid Salim Malik 800,000 rupees [£12,000] to fix match between Indian and Pakistani Wills Cup winners in 1991'

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