Rajesh Kalra, who is said to have lost huge sums to armed robbers in a daylight heist in New Delhi on Tuesday, was arrested in March 2000 in the international match-fixing racket involving the late South African skipper Hansie Cronje.
His name tops the list of the accused in the charge sheet filed by the Delhi Police before a city court last July.
Mr. Kalra, a diamond merchant having stakes in prime property in South Delhi, had been named as an accused, along with Gulshan Kumar’s brother Krishan Kumar, Sanjeev Chawla and Man Mohan Khatter, besides Cronje.
Sanjeev Chawla and Man Mohan are still on the run.
Stating that Mr. Karla, then shown as a resident of S-252 Greater Kailash, was arrested from his house on April 7, 2000, the charge sheet mentions that he admitted during interrogation that he and the other accused were involved in fixing cricket matches during the South Africa-India series in February-March 2000.
The accused told investigators that Sanjeev Chawla and Krishan Kumar had paid Rs. 60 lakh to Cronje for fixing the matches. “He also disclosed that on March 14, 2000, he, along with Sanjeev Chawla and Sunil Dara, visited Hotel Taj Palace in Delhi, where Cronje called Sanjeev Chawla to his room No. 346,” allege the investigators.
In one of the phone intercepts listed as evidence, the accused told Krishan Kumar that Sanjeev Chawla had asked for an international roaming mobile number to be given to Cronje to facilitate communication with him. “Therefore, on March 15, 2000, he [Mr. Kalra] purchased a mobile connection number 9810****** in his name, and the same was given to Cronje through Sanjeev Chawla. Cronje has admitted, before the Kings Commission, to receiving a SIM card from Sanjeev Chawla,” the charge sheet alleges.
During the investigation, the police obtained Mr. Kalra’s voice sample and seized the mobile phones he had used during the alleged commission of crime.
The charge sheet, filed under Section 420 (cheating) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, concludes that there is “sufficient evidence to prove the accused — Sanjeev Chawla, Cronje, Krishan Kumar, Rajesh Kalra, Sunil Dara and Man Mohan Khatter — had entered into a criminal conspiracy to fix the matches played from February 16, 2000 to March 3, 2000 in India.”
“In furtherance of the conspiracy, the first Test in Mumbai and the first one-day international in Cochin were fixed, and this resulted in a wrongful gain to the accused and a wrongful loss to the public…, who had gone believing that they would witness truly competitive matches in which each player would perform optimally,” it added.
During the CBI probe, Mr. Kalra’s name also cropped up. Though the accused in that case could not be put to trial, the CBI report mentioned him as a punter having links with several Delhi and Mumbai bookies and prominent cricketers. In a statement to the CBI, he had supposedly disclosed that he came to know the cricketers during visits to a gym at Hotel Park Royal and the sports club at Siri Fort.