OTHERS

Madhavan report too finds Azhar guilty

NEW DELHI, NOV. 27. The Madhavan report has confirmed the findings of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and named former skipper, Mohammad Azharuddin, guilty of match-fixing.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had appointed former CBI Joint Director Mr. K. Madhavan, to look into the CBI report on match-fixing and submit his report. Mr. Madhavan, according to the BCCI President Mr. A. C. Muthaiah, has found Azharuddin guilty while confirming Ajay Jadeja, Ajay Sharma and Manoj Prabhakar as having nexus with bookies.

Asked to comment on Nayan Mongia, the fifth player accused by the CBI, not figuring in the Madhavan report, Mr. Muthaiah said ``all of them (Azharuddin, Prabhakar, Jadeja and Ajay Sharma) have had nexus with bookies except maybe in the case of Nayan Mongia.''

The Madhavan report, submitted to Union Sports Minister, Ms. Uma Bharti, here on Monday, also confirmed former physiotherapist, Ali Irani, as the conduit between the above named players and bookies.

Talking to newsmen after presenting the Madhavan report, the BCCI president said strong action would be taken against the guilty players. ``There is a provision for life ban too,'' he added, indicating the punishment awaiting Azharuddin.

``We have to take action or else we would be seen as shielding them (guilty players). We will be taking deterrent action I can assure you. The maximum penalty the BCCI can give is life ban,'' Mr. Muthaiah said.

Mr. Muthaiah agreed that the Madhavan report was not much different from what the CBI had submitted. ``Essentially Mr. Madhavan has studied the CBI report, interrogated the accused players and given his views. His is basically an advisory role.'' The BCCI has since invited the accused players for another hearing here on Tuesday. ``We would like to give the players an opportunity to defend themselves. We can't take a unilateral decision. The BCCI has given a copy of the Madhavan report to the players and we would like to hear what they have to say,'' said Mr. Muthaiah, even as he confirmed that Azharuddin was in the city to be present for the hearing to be held at Taj Mansingh Hotel.

The action against the players will be announced in Calcutta on November 29 after the Special General Body Meeting of the BCCI on this issue.