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Boje denies match-fixing links

The former cricketer was also questioned about his links with a South African bookie and a bank account in London.

cricket Updated: Dec 11, 2007 21:07 IST

Former South African cricketer Nicky Boje, in India playing for the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL), on Tuesday told the police he had no links with a match-fixing scandal in 2000.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Satyandra Garg said the left arm spinner was questioned extensively for two hours here.

"He was questioned by the crime branch on relevant aspects of the case - whether he knew the alleged bookies Sanjeev Chawla, Rajesh Kalra, Kishen Kumar and Sunil Dhara, who had reportedly fixed matches then.

"We will question him again when required. We will now take the investigation further," Garg said, adding that Boje was also questioned about his alleged links with a South African bookie and a bank account in London.

Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said: "Boje in his questioning denied his role in the seven-year-old match-fixing scandal. He cooperated well and was asked all relevant aspects of the case."

After the questioning, a visibly relieved Boje was allowed to return to Panchkula, where for the past two weeks he has been playing a Twenty20 tournament organised by the ICL.

Boje was questioned at the Delhi Police Officers' Mess in Darya Ganj (in old Delhi). Accompanying Boje was an official of the South African high commission, who left once the questioning started around 11 am.

"I was called in for questioning in an old matter by the Delhi Police. I met them and have responded to the queries raised by them. I look forward to continue playing in the ICL Twenty20 tournament now under way at Panchkula, Haryana," said Boje in a statement.

Last week, Delhi Police had summoned Boje asking him if he could throw more light on the 2000 match-fixing scandal.

Boje had skipped two visits of his team to India after the 2000 scandal. He claimed that on one occasion the South African cricket board did not select him to play in India and for ICC Champions Trophy in India he again was not chosen.

Last year, the police had questioned Herschelle Gibbs, another South African player, during the ICC Champions Trophy here for his alleged involvement in the case.

The police had no option but let him off as evidence against him was wanting with the main accused, former South African skipper Hansie Cronje, dying in a plane crash five years ago.

Gibbs was questioned after diplomatic immunity was promised to him.

Gibbs is one of the accused in the first information report (FIR) registered in April 2000 under charges of cheating, fraud and criminal conspiracy along with the late Cronje, Boje, Pieter Strydom and Henry Williams.

The King's Commission served Cronje, who admitted to involvement in match fixing, a life ban before he died in 2002.

Chawla, the bookie that offered money to Cronje to under-perform, remains in hiding in London for the last six years and has refused to appear before the police despite repeating summons.

Kumar and Kalra, who were also charged, are out on bail.

The 32-year-old Gibbs, who has played 79 Tests, had admitted to accepting money from Cronje to score fewer than 20 runs against India in a one-dayer during their 2000 March-April tour.

However, seven years after Delhi Police prized open the can of match fixing on the basis of tapped telephone transcripts, they have largely failed to make headway in the investigation. The police have refused to close the case that has been hanging fire all these years.