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Match-fixing case lost in translation

Over six years have passed since Delhi Police registered the high-profile match-fixing case against several South African cricketers and middlemen. Yet much of what is in the taped conversations between the dramatis personae is unknown, because police have failed to find a translator for the recordings, which are in Afrikaans.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2006 01:11 IST

6 years on, Delhi Police has not deciphered tape recordings in Afrikaans

Over six years have passed since Delhi Police registered the high-profile match-fixing case against several South African cricketers and middlemen. Yet much of what is in the taped conversations between the dramatis personae is unknown, because police have failed to find a translator for the recordings, which are in Afrikaans.

“We had approached the South African High Commission and also Jawaharlal Nehru University, but failed to find a translator,” a crime branch officer said. “We are still looking,” said Ranjit Narayan, crime branch joint commissioner.

So, police sources say, there has been no progress since the FIR was registered in April 2000. Police are unsure whether the recordings are vital evidencein the match fixing case, or simply cricket talk.

Some officers now wonder  whether this week’s questioning of South African cricketer Hershelle Gibbs was merely a face saving device for police.

There are other gaps in the investigation too. Police do not have voice samples for either Cronje or bookie Sanjeev Chawla, to compare with the recordings.

They do not have details of their bank accousnts in London. “We have not even received a comprehensive reply to the letter rogatory sent to South Africa,” an officer said. The government had rejected a police proposal to send a team to South Africa and London to work on the case.

“What Gibbs said during the questioning was known to the world. He did not divulge anything new to police. That the police should wake up only when the South Africans travel to India raises eyebrows,” an officer earlier involved with the investigations said.