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'CBI must look into the match-fixing scandal'

By Onkar Singh
August 30, 2010 19:24 IST
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Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi has urged the Central Bureau of Investigation to look into claims of an Indian bookmaker's role in the latest match-fixing episode to hit cricket.

"The CBI must look into the match-fixing scandal. They should keep collecting material till they get evidence to nail the culprit," the spin legend told on Monday.

- The betting scandal

His comments came in the wake of allegations that a bookie, Mazhar Majeed, arrested and later released on bail, bribed Pakistan pacers Mohammad Asif and Muhammad Amir for 'spot-fixing', to bowl no-balls during the Lord's Test against England, which the visitors lost by an innings and 225 runs.

British tabloid, The News of the World, shook the world of cricket when it reported on Sunday that Majeed had paid bribes to the players to bowl no-balls and wides in the series and the fourth and final Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's.

In a sting operation carried out by the newspaper, the bookie was caught on tape saying that the two pacers had bowled three deliberate no-balls by pre-arrangement on the opening day of the fourth Test against England last Thursday.

Former India Test opener Chetan Chauhan echoed Bedi's call.

"I am all for an investigation, but I would say it is a bit too early. Let Scotland Yard find out the truth. We must put match-fixing down with an iron hand, because the image of cricket as a game has suffered; that is my concern," he said.

The Delhi police, which in 2000 busted the betting and match-fixing episode, involving several leading players from India, Pakistan, South Africa and other countries, however chose not to comment on the latest scandal.

"We have not got any official confirmation about the Pakistan's leading cricketers' involvement. Hence, I am not in a position to say whether the Delhi police will have another look at the match-fixing scam," Delhi police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.

A senior official of the agency though said, "If the case of match-fixing by the Pakistan team is found to be true then the CBI may have to probe the Indian angle."

The curse of match-fixing surfaced in 2000 when the Delhi police intercepted a conversation between a bookie and South Africa's late captain Hansie Cronje, who agreed to throw matches for a price.

Cronje, who admitted to throwing matches, was banned for life from all forms of the game.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India set up a court of inquiry and after receiving a report from the CBI slapped life bans on former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Delhi batsman Ajay Sharma for their involvement in the scam.

Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar, the others named in the CBI report on match-fixing, were suspended for five years

Besides naming Azharuddin and Jadeja, Cronje also named former Pakistan batsman Salim Malik, who was also later banned from the game.

As the kingpin, Cronje exposed the dark side of betting, but, with his untimely death in an air crash in 2002, many escaped the clutches of law enforcement agencies.

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Onkar Singh New Delhi