The Delhi Police Crime Branch on Monday filed a charge sheet against late South African skipper Hansie Cronje and five alleged bookies in the match-fixing scandal that had rocked the cricketing world 13 years ago.
The nearly 2,300-page investigation report does not name Cronje’s former teammates Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje as nothing concrete came up against them.
Proceedings against Cronje will be abated as he died in a plane crash in 2002.
The police filed the charge sheet before the link magistrate Akash Jain as the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal is on leave. The matter is expected to come up for consideration before Mr. Bansal on Tuesday.
Among the others named in the charge sheet are alleged bookie Sanjiv Chawla and his purported aides: late T-series owner Gulshan Kumar’s brother Krishan Kumar, Rajesh Kalra, Sunil Dara and Manmohan Khattar. While main accused Chawla has taken refuge in the United Kingdom, the police had last heard of Khattar’s whereabouts in the United States. “Whether he is dead or alive is not known to us,” said a police officer.
The police had achieved a breakthrough in the case while investigating an extortion threat from a Dubai-based underworld figure to a businessman. While probing the calls made by the suspect, they discovered that he was allegedly in regular touch with Krishan Kumar. Following the lead, the investigators unearthed the entire match-fixing network.
The charge sheet lists 65 witnesses that include forensics experts, telecom employees, police personnel and even some cricket match spectators who have alleged that they were cheated. The then housekeeping staffer at Taj Mumbai-Arun- who had seen Cronje entering Chawla’s hotel room empty-handed and then returning with a packet, has also been named an eyewitness. The police have annexed a closed-circuit television camera capturing Cronje’s visit to Chawla’s room as corroborative evidence. The chief security officer of the hotel who handed over the footage to the police is a witness in the case, besides other hotel employees.
The police have also seized a mobile phone which had been handed over to Chawla by his accomplice Rajesh Kalra. According to the police, Chawla had given the phone to Cronje to remain in touch with him. The charge sheet mentions that Chawla was first introduced to Cronje at a party hosted by businessman Hamid 'Banjo' Cassim in South Africa.
In a statement to King Commission Inquiry — which was set up to inquire into allegations of bribery and match fixing in South African cricket — Cassim had disclosed that he had seen Chawla handing over an envelope to Cronje. The fact was corroborated by the former South African captain before the Commission.