New Delhi - Though they find themselves riding high after the arrest of three cricketers, including India fast bowler S. Sreesanth, in the spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Delhi Police are still struggling to file a chargesheet 13 years after having exposed the murky world of match-fixing in 2000.
The cricketing world was shocked in 2000, when the Delhi Police named South African captain Hansie Cronje, who later died , his team mates Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje in the match-fixing case.
Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin and his teammates Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Jadeja and Ajay Sharma were also allegedly involved.
A top-official of Delhi Police crime branch has said that the case is still pending and a chargesheet would be filed soon.
“The case is still open and is pending investigation. We are working hard on it and we will soon file a chargesheet. We are awaiting the results from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL),” the top official of the crime branch said.
The sudden appearance of London-based bookie Sanjeev Chawla, who was the mastermind in the 2000 match-fixing case, has given the Delhi Police some hope.
Chawla, who was also arrested by Scotland yard in 2000 before being released since the charges against him couldn’t be proved, was spotted by British authorities in 2008 and they had immediately informed the Delhi Police. His passport has been revoked by the Indian government in 2000 and he has been changing hideouts frequently in England.
Then Delhi Police commissioner K.K. Paul, now retired, said the police had a strong case against the accused but since the case was spread over three countries it became tough for investigators to get evidence and samples from abroad.
“It was in 2000 that we shocked the cricketing world by revealing the taped conversations between fixers and cricketers. It was a high profile case and we had a strong case against the accused. But we had to get lot of documents from England and South Africa and it took some time. I retired in 2007 and since then I have lost track of the case,” Paul told IANS.
On April 7, 2000, the Delhi Police made public the tapped conversation between Cronje and Chawla.
Delhi Police registered an FIR against Cronje, Chawla, south Delhi-based businessman Rajesh Kalra, the late music baron Gulshan Kumar’s brother Kishan Kumar, and Sunil Dara, a Delhi-based bookie living in West Asia.
Kalra, Kumar and Dara were arrested but they were released on bail later. Two years later, Cronje died in a plane crash, making things difficult for the investigators.
Cronje, Azharuddin and Sharma were banned for life by their national boards while Gibbs was banned for six months. Gibbs and Boje, after much dilly-dallying, travelled to India and cooperated with Delhi Police.
Jadeja was banned for five years ending his career but the ban was later overturned by the Delhi High Court in January 2003, saying there was no proof of his guilt.
The Delhi Police could perhaps could take a leaf out of the London Metropolitan Police who took exactly 15 months to complete the investigations and send Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer to jail for spot-fixing.