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Indian-origin 'journalist' detained at Mohali

Claiming to be a British national, the "freelance journalist" had told PCA officials he was representing British media.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 20:45 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

A British national of Indian-origin was detained and questioned by police in Chandigarh on Monday on charges of cheating and impersonation during the second Test match between India and England.

The questioning was done following complaints that Rajiv Moolchandani was a punter and had indulged in online betting from inside the media box at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium during the Test that concluded Monday with a win for India.

Moolchandani was likely to be charged with impersonation and cheating even though the betting charge was not pressed in the absence of any complaint from PCA.

PCA organising secretary GS Walia, who accompanied the Indian cricket team as its media-cum-organising manager to Pakistan earlier this year, was also questioned by police for issuing media accreditation to Moochandani without verifying his credentials.

Moolchandani was turned out of the media box on Sunday following complaints by other reporters that he was indulging in betting.

His accreditation for the match -- given under mysterious circumstances and for which PCA officials had no valid justification -- was also cancelled.

Claiming to be a British national, the "freelance journalist" had told PCA officials he was representing the British media. He failed to furnish any documents to support his claim.

Even Walia, who was in charge of issuing accreditation cards, had no answer to the fact that Moolchandani had been issued an accreditation card without supporting documents.

Moolchandani had access to the high-security pavilion block of the stadium for nearly four days. No complaint was made to the Mohali police despite the serious offence committed by Moolchandani.

"The case was not even brought to our notice, let alone the filing of a complaint by PCA officials," a police officer said.

First Published: Mar 13, 2006 20:45 IST