Madhavan report on cricket match-fixing
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER, BCCI on "Report on Cricket Match Fixing and Related Malpractices" submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation, India
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER, BCCI on "Report on Cricket Match Fixing and Related Malpractices" submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation, India
1. Consequent upon allegations of cricket match fixing etc. which gained wide publicity from 8th April 2000, on the request of Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Youth Affairs & Sports, CBI registered Preliminary Enquiry No. 2/S/2000/SCB-I/DLI on 2nd May, 2000 and commenced enquiries in respect of allegations of match fixing and related malpractices.
2. It is necessary to explain the difference between a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) and a Regular Case (RC) registered by CBI. A case becomes an RC when an FIR is registered by the CBI under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. In such a case, CBI would conduct a statutory investigation under Chapter XII of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. In such an investigation CBI has powers of conducting searches and arrests. An RC, namely an FIR, would be registered by the CBI only if the complaint received by the CBI discloses the suspected commission of cognisable offence by anyone. As against this, if the complaint that is received by the CBI does not prima facie disclose the possible commission of any cognisable offence, CBI would register only a PE in which enquiries are conducted on the basis of the general police powers vested in the CBI. Such enquiries are not conducted under the provisions of the CrPC 1973. In a PE, CBI has no power of arrest and generally has no power of search also.
3. On completion of the enquiry CBI submitted its report of 162 pages to Government of India on 31st October, 2000 which was released to the media and the public by the Government of India on 1st November, 2000.
4. As I have been appointed as Commissioner by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vide their letter dated August 29, 2000 to conduct follow up enquiries in such cases, BCCI made available to me a copy of the report on 2nd November, 2000. On receipt of the said report, I studied the report thoroughly and commenced conducting enquiries. This report/opinion (report for short) is being submitted to BCCI on completion of such enquiries as deemed necessary by me.
CHANDRACHUD COMMITTEE REPORT
5. Before I commence my analysis of the CBI report, it is necessary to briefly refer to the Chandrachud Committee Report.
6. Vide letter date 20.6.1997 from BCCI to Hon'ble Shri Justice Y.V. Chandrachud, a One Man Committee (Chandrachud Committee for short) was appointed by BCCI to hold enquiry into the alleged charges of betting and match fixing by Indian cricketers and /or by the management. This committee was set up consequent upon a cover story which appeared in the issue of "The Outlook" dated 11th June, 1997 in which the allegation made by Shri Manoj Prabhakar of his having been offered Rs. 25 lakhs by an Indian team member for sabotaging the match in Pakistan's favour before the India-Pakistan match in Sri Lanka during the Singer Cup in 1994 was published.
7. Hon'ble Shri Justice Y.V. Chandrachud submitted his 94 page report on 17th November, 1997. I have studied the report and shall refer to some relevant parts of the analysis and conclusions arrived at by the Committee.
8. When Chandrachud Committee conducted the enquiry, it was with a limited scope and without the environment which prevailed after the Hansie Cronje allegation was publicised by the Delhi Police. Consequently, the persons who deposed before the Committee were in no mood to state the truth and generally adopted postures to the effect that all was well with Indian cricket. Manoj Prabhakar, however, reiterated the allegation before the said Committee refused to name the player who made the offer him or to furnish any evidence before the Committee on certain grounds which are referred to by the Committee in the conclusion which the Committee arrived at.
9. For facility of ready reference, the said conclusion which appears at Pages 52-54 of the report of the Committee is reproduced below:-
10. The fundamental objection of Manoj to disclosing the names of persons who offered him bribes or asked him to play below his form is that such a disclosure will spell danger to his life. He said in his statement before me that he was warned that his life will be in danger if he disclosed the names. I pleaded with him that he may disclose the names to me in confidence and that I will not mention those names in my report, much less that he had disclosed those names to me. Faced with this situation, he changed his stance, an adroit player that he is and said he is afraid that he will be sued or prosecuted if he disclosed the names. With my humble experience at the Bar an on the Bench, I told him how unfounded this fear was. But, he stuck to his crease for concealing the names. This, indeed is an easy exercise. Make any unfounded allegations you like against team-mates, officials and others and then try to get away with it by saying that the names of the culprits cannot be disclosed because there is danger to life or the fear of a litigation.
11. I have no hesitation in rejecting the allegations made by Manoj Prabhakar. They are imaginary and unrealistic. The question naturally arises as to why he should have resorted to tactics like these. The answer is provided by his own peers; according to them, Manoj lost his equipoise because firstly, to quote his own words, he was "thrown out of the Indian team". That deprived him of the opportunity to make handsome gains by the use of his unquestioned cricketing talents. Secondly, he was then discarded by his own home team, the Delhi District Cricket Association. That evidently unhinged him because, having been a hero of the crowds for quite some years, he was relegated into oblivion. From the admiring eyes of countless fans to a dark room is a fall too big to bear even for the most philosophical. He then tried to open a new leaf in his life by contesting an election to the Parliament. He rushed in where angels fear to tread and lost his wicket like a tail-ender. That was the last straw which broke a brave back.
12. Almost every player and manager who was interviewed by me spoke of Manoj as an impulsive, indisciplined and aggressive individual. All those who said this added that there can be no doubt that he was a lion-hearted player who was always on the kill and did his utmost for the team. It is to be regretted that a player of Manoj's caliber was not able to curb his immature and uninformed impulses. Cricket made him an idol of the crowds. Everyone regarded him as a fine all-rounder. It is tragic that he should have made untrue allegations which are calculated to dilute, if not to destroy, the glorious uncertainty, the fun the charm and the camaraderie of a great game. The greatest harm he has done is to his own image as a key player in the team. Cricket, I believe, will take care of itself. It is too deeply rooted in our lives and too widely liked and loved to be damaged or destroyed by unexamined outbursts of misguided individuals."
10. I am in respectful agreement with the conclusion arrived at by the Committee based on the evidence available at that time.
11. The other conclusions of the Committee were as under:-
(a) A large amount of betting takes place on cricket in India. (Para 22/Page 91)
(b) No journalist is involved in betting or match fixing as no credible evidence was available to justify such implication. (Para 23/page 91)
(c) The data before the Committee did not show that any Indian player, official or journalist had ever taken part in fixing a match or that any of them lays bets on cricket for the purpose of match fixing so as to lose a match. There is undoubtedly large scale betting on cricket but that is a law and order problem. (Para 24/Page 92)
(d) The Committee was sure that with the good intentions of so many well informed persons, the game of cricket will thrive in India and the rumours of match-fixing will die a natural death. It will be a sad day if the common men and women, on whose support the game has occupied a pride of place, will stay away, believing that the bookies, not the chosen eleven, play the game. (Para 27/Page 94).
12. On the basis of the evidence which was available to the Committee, the aforesaid conclusions arrived at by the Chandrachud Committee in November, 1997 were correct and unobjectionable. However, on the basis of the subsequent developments in general and the enquiry conducted by the CBI in particular, some of these conclusions are not valid any more. This will become obvious in the analysis which I would be presenting in later in this report. ASPECT WHICH HAS BEEN OMITTED BY CBI
13. The entire report of the CBI deals with evidence pertaining to match fixing and betting as well as the involvement of bookies, punters, players etc. therein. There is however an extremely important aspect which should have been considered and opinion given by the CBI which has not been done. I am setting it out at the outset as I will often refer to the said aspect later in this my report.
14. In many Regular Cases and Preliminary Enquiries which are investigated/enquired into by the CBI, very frequently misconduct committed by public servants, which may not amount to any offence, but violates accepted and expected norms of human conduct in general and Conduct Rules in particular are proved. In such cases, CBI always recommends departmental action for imposing punishment on the guilty persons which punishment should not doubt be commensurate with the misconduct which stood proved.
15. Following are a few illustrative instances of such violation of norms of human conduct: (a) An SHO often being in close contact with and meeting smugglers, brothel keepers, other criminals etc. and later claiming, when caught, that he was not mixed up with them but was just in frequent contact and that even the meetings were innocuous. (b) The Chief Secretary of a State often contacting and meeting shady industrialists and businessmen without any official purpose and later claiming, when caught, that the contacts and meetings were innocuous. (c) A Government official frequently contacting and meeting Embassy staff of a country which is known to be hostile to India and later claiming, when caught, that the contacts and meetings were innocent. (d) A man frequently contacting and meeting women of ill repute and later claiming, when caught, that such contacts and meetings were platonic.
16. I would be seen that in each of the illustrative instances cited above, which by no means are exhaustive, the person concerned is clearly guilty of misconduct which may not amount to a crime. Such acts by such persons would be misconduct even if there is no Code of Conduct in place. The reason for this is that such activities are undesirable and therefore prohibited by necessary implication, even by normal rules of acceptable human behaviour.
17. In this case, the CBI report clearly establishes that some of the indicted players were in frequent contacts with bookies/punters. The question that arises is whether such senior players were morally correct in even maintaining such close relationship with such bookies/punters. I am of the view that irrespective of the allegation of match fixing/betting and non-existence of the Code of Conduct of BCCI prior to 1st October, 2000, the concerned players are definitely guilty of undesirable activities and misconduct as they were players of eminence and were selected by the BCCI for representing the country at international level. Such players are role models for people in general and budding cricketers in particular and ought not have maintained such close relationship with bookies/punters. I am of the view that on this ground also the concerned players are guilty of misconduct, wherever such contacts and/or meetings are proved by preponderance of probabilities. PRELIMINARY ASPECTS IN THE REPORT OF THE CBI
18. At Pages 1-13 of the report, CBI has set out the parameters, mechanics used, interpretation of the terminology of match fixing, history of betting syndicates in India, betting procedure, names and addresses of major bookies and punters, dimensions of betting and manipulations. To ensure brevity, it is not necessary to reiterate in my report the contents of the CBI report in respect of the aforesaid aspects. It is suggested that the CBI report itself may please be perused in this regard. I would however state that the approach and observations of the CBI on these aspects are generally correct. STATEMENTS OF BOOKIES AND PUNTERS
19. At Pages 14 to 54 of the report, CBI has set out in detail the statements of bookies and punters recorded by the CBI. The names of such persons whose statements have been recorded by the CBI and reproduced in the report are as under:- i) Mukesh Kumar Gupta @ M.K. Gupta @ M.K. @ John ii) Anil Nagada @ Anil Steel iii) Anand Sagar Saxena @ Anand @ Chikna iv) Sanjeev Kohli @ Tipu Kohli v) Deepak Rajouri vi) Sanjeev Sacher @ Babloo vii) Naveen Sachdeva @ Tinku viii) Jai Bhagwan Gupta ix) Nishit Goel x) Ajay Gupta xi) Sanjay Anand xii) Anil Saxena xiii) Pawan Puri xiv) Rattan Mehta xv) Uttam Chand Jain @ Topi xvi) Rajesh Kalra xvii) Shobhan Mehta xviii) Daleep Seth @ Satyam Baba
20. Relevant statements of most of the above persons, which as recorded by the CBI are available in Vol.-II of my report.
21. In my capacity as Commissioner, BCCI, I have the power to summon and examine only those persons who are under the control of BCCI, namely past and present cricket players, officials of BCCI and employees of BCCI. Consequently, it is not possible for me to summon any of the persons mentioned above over whom BCCI has no control whatsoever. However, considering the reputation, expertise and objectivity of the CBI in its functioning, I have no reason to doubt that the statements of the said persons have been correctly recorded by the CBI. It is not necessary to set out at this stage their statements as the relevant parts of their statements figure later in the report of the CBI itself while setting out the statements of the players and others and also while analysing the evidence against each of the players and employees. To avoid repetition, I shall also refer to the statements of the aforesaid bookies/punters only while narrating the statements of players, officials and employees recorded by me and while setting out my analysis of the findings of the CBI, explanations of the indicted players and others and my reasoning and opinion thereon.
22. Similarly, I have no jurisdiction also to enquire into or comment upon foreign players who have been indicted by the CBI in its report. PARAMETERS OF MY REPORT
23. CBI registers, on an average, 1200 cases (RCs & PEs) every year. Some of these cases are prosecuted by the CBI without obtaining of saniction of any competent authority. In some other cases, CBI sends what are called "SP's Report" to the department concerned for obtaining statutory sanction before prosecution. Even in cases where CBI to them does not propose to lodge prosecution but recommends only departmental action by the Ministry or Public Sector Undertaking concerned, "SP's Report" is sent by the CBI making such recommendation. Some cases are closed by the CBI on conclusion of investigation/enquiry without any action. In such cases the allegations turn out to be false or sufficient evidence is not forthcoming for CBI to recommend any action.
24. The present report submitted by the CBI relating to match fixing etc. is in the nature of "SP's Report" sent by the CBI recommending departmental action, namely action by BCCI. This is for the reason that at Pages 138-148 of the report, CBI has analysed the legal position that emerges on the basis of legal advice obtained by the CBI from its own Legal Advisor, Hon'ble Shri Justice Monoj Kumar Mukherjee, former Judge, Supreme Court of India and Shri Harish Salve, Solicitor General of India. The conclusion arrived at by the CBI on the basis of such legal advice is that no criminally prosecutable case has been made out in respect of the allegations in this case.
25. However CBI has expressed the view (at Page 148) that offences under Section 13(1)(d)(i) and (iii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 can be registered against Mohd. Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma, who are public servants, as they are employees of SBI and Central Warehousing Corporation respectively. I have my own doubts about the applicability of the said two sub-sections to the said two players, as the misdemeanour was not committed by them qua their status as public servants. This is, however, a matter to be decided by the CBI after evaluation. Neither I nor BCCI has any role to play in this regard.
26. I have already mentioned above that the present report is analogous to an "SP's Report" sent by the CBI to a Ministry or PSU recommending departmental action against certain persons who are under the control of such Ministry or PSU. In such cases, the Ministry or the PSU concerned does not punish the indicted public servants solely on the basis of the findings of the CBI in the SP's Report. On the other hand an enquiry is conducted by the Ministry or PSU concerned in which, most importantly, the indicted person is given opportunity to put forth his defence. This is necessary as such persons, when they were examined by the CBI earlier, would not be aware of what the findings of the CBI would be regarding their culpability. Consequently, when CBI subsequently indicts them, they get an opportunity to defend themselves on the legal principle audi alteram partem, which means "hear the other side also".
In such cases, the Ministry or PSU concerned never goes beyond the CBI report and commence any enquiry against any person who is not indicted in this report of the CBI. This has been the practice in the past five decades in respect of thousands of such SP's Reports sent by the CBI to various Ministries and PSUs. Therefore, in the present matter also it is necessary for me only to conduct inquiry in respect of the following persons by giving them an opportunity to give their explanations regarding their statements recorded by the CBI, the analysis made in the CBI report of the allegations against each of them and to make further submissions/evidence which they may like to put forward. In respect of each such person, the date on which I examined such person, and the place of examination are also set out:-
27. Apart from the above, on 12th November, 2000 I also met Dr. A.C. Muthiah, President, BCCI at Chennai and asked him to furnish explanations/replies to the various observations made in respect of BCCI in the report of the CBI. This request was made to Dr. A.C. Muthiah, because he is presently holding the post of President, BCCI and is therefore the most competent authority to furnish such explanations/replies on behalf of BCCI.
28. Later in this report, I shall analyse the roles played by the aforesaid persons as set out in the CBI report, in juxtaposition with their statements recorded by me and then furnish my final opinion along with grounds for the final opinion.
29. It is not been necessary for me to conduct any enquiry in respect of persons who have not been indicted by the CBI. In particular it is relevant to mention that CBI report has not indicted Navjot Singh Sidhu and the Delhi players except those who have been indicted as above. Similarly, CBI report has also exonerated Kapil Dev as did the Chandrachud Committee. EVIDENCE OF NON-MATCH FIXING
30. The CBI report is replete with incidents and instances of the aforesaid indicted players (except Shri Nayan Mongia) being in frequent contact with bookies/punters, getting moneys and other favours from bookies/punters. However an extremely important aspect of the CBI report is that on certain occasions, despite alleged gratifications passed on to some of the aforesaid players, the promised results did not come about. As per the report of the CBI, the following are a few such instances of matches not being fixed.
(i) Azharuddin's promises in respect of Titan Cup Series of 1996 (Page 25)
(ii) Azharuddin's promises in respect of the India's Tour to South Africa in 1996 (Page 27).
(iii) Hansie Cronje's promises during the same series (Page 28).
(iv) Azharuddin's promises in respect of the Sahara Cup Tournament in Toronto in 1997 (Page 28).
(v) Some of the information provided by Manoj Prabhakar proved incorrect (Page 33).
(vi) Azharuddin's promises in respect of the series in Sri Lanka in July, 1998 (Page 39).
(vii) Azharuddin's promises in respect of the Toronto Cup tournament in September-October, 1998 (Page 39).
31. Dog eating dog appears also to have been the yet another guiding principle. In the CBI report as set out at Pages 54 to 96, the gist of the statements recorded by the CBI of S/Shri Ajay Sharma (Page 54), Manoj Prabhakar (Page 62), Mohd. Azharuddin (Page 68), Dr. Ali Irani (Page 71), Ajay Jadeja (Page 76), Nikhil Chopra (page 78), Nayan Mongia (Page 79), Navjyot Singh Sidhu (Page 80), Ajit Wadekar (Page 81), Prashat Vaidya (Page 83), Ravi Shastri (Page 84), Kapil Dev (Page 85), Sachin Tendulkar (Page 88), Maninder Singh (Page 90), Kirti Azad (Page 90), Atul Wassan (Page 91), I.S. Bindra (Page 91), Sunil Dev (Page 94) and Madhav Rao Scindia (page 95). The gist of the statement of Ram Adhar @ Choudhary of Feroze Shah Kotla ground has been set out by the CBI at Page 35. Among these, the most relevant are the statements of the 5 indicted players, Dr. Ali Irani and Ram Adhar.
32. In the analysis of the evidence in respect of each indicted person, I shall be setting out their statements as recorded by CBI, their reaction to such statements when I examined them, my view in respect of the version put forth by them before the CBI on the one hand and before me on the other and my finding regarding their guilt or otherwise. I shall do so with copies of the original statements recorded by the CBI and not on the basis of the salient features of their statements as set out in the CBI report. These statements as well as the statements of the relevant bookies/punters are placed in Volume - II of my report. I may mention that while giving me these copies CBI had masked the signature, designation etc. of the CBI officer who recorded the statement.
33. In this context, I am enclosing in Volume - III of this report the statements of the indicted persons as recorded by the CBI and as recorded by me as per details furnished below:- Sl.No. Name of the indicted Page No. in Vol.-II Page No. in Vol.-III where the statement where the statements as recorded by me as recorded by CBI appears appears (i) Ajay Sharma 001-007 001-017 (ii) Manoj Prabhakar 008-015 018-047 (iii) Mohd. Azharuddin 016-020 048-088 (iv) Dr. Ali Irani 021-025 089-095 (v) Ajay Jadeja 026-031 096-123 (vi) Nayan Mongia 032-035 124-132 (vii) Ram Adhar @ Choudhary 036 133-134
34. It is suggested that for a comprehensive appreciation of this report, the aforesaid statements may be perused. In this report, I shall no doubt refer to the relevant and the salient features of the statements of the said persons.
35. I shall analyse the role of each indicted person in the order in which CBI has done at Pages 97 to 124 of the report of CBI. AJAY SHARMA
36. I recorded the statement of Ajay Sharma on 18th November, 2000 at the NSG Officers Mess, near Terminal - 2, IGI Airport, New Delhi.
37. CBI has analysed the evidence against Ajay Sharma at Pages 97-103 in the report.
38. In the statement of Ajay Sharma recorded by the CBI, he mentioned at Para - 2 about how he scored a quick century in the Ram Charan Aggarwal Tournament and when he was returning to the pavilion, M.K. Gupta had stuffed some money in his pocket. In the statement, Ajay Sharma is silent about the quantum of money that M.K. had stuffed in his pocket. However, M.K. himself stated (at Pages 15-16 of the CBI report) that the amount was Rs. 2000. However, at Para 7 of the statement recorded by me, Ajay Sharma stated that some persons had put money in his pockets and one of them was M.K., as conveyed to Ajay Sharma by his friend Sanjay Bharadwaj. Ajay Sharma stated that when the money was counted, it was around Rs. 1,300. My opinion in this regard is that irrespective of the quantum of money which M.K. had stuffed in the pocket of Ajay Sharma, Ajay Sharma cannot be faulted for what took place as he was a very young man and there is nothing wrong if fans stuff some small amounts of money in the pockets of a player, who had played well. It was a token of their appreciation of his game. He cannot push them off. This took place in the late-eighties. MK however had long range plans.
39. However, what is more relevant in this part of the statement of Ajay Sharma recorded by me is the following (at Para 7). "I had not known M.K. I have never known M.K. Gupta by the said name or by the name M.K. or John. I cannot identify M.K. Gupta even now."
40. With this statement which Ajay Sharma made right at the commencement of his statement recorded by me, he washed his hands off in respect of M.K. Gupta and what he stated before the CBI about their contacts. In particular, Ajay Sharma has denied the following in relation to M.K.
41. He stated that each and every part of his statement as recorded by CBI regarding the contacts between him and M.K. as well as the introductions made by him of various persons with M.K. and other transactions between M.K. and himself on the one hand and various other players on the other are all false.
42. Similarly, in respect of Ajay Gupta also, he stated that he knew Ajay Gupta only because the latter's son was being trained by Ajay Sharma in the Roshanara Club. He mentioned in the statement recorded by me that he did not introduce Ajay Gupta to Azharuddin as mentioned in his statement recorded by the CBI.
43. He stated before me that he did not tell the CBI that he had received various amounts from M.K. or Ajay Gupta as appearing in his statement recorded by the CBI.
44. He has also denied in his statement recorded by me that he did make telephone calls to Azharuddin but it had nothing to do with cricket and was in relation to an injury sustained by Ajay Sharma's son Manan Sharma on 9th March, 2000.
45.Ajay Sharma has denied all the allegations held by the CBI as proved against him in the analysis of evidence in the CBI report at Pages 97-103.
46. From the statement of Ajay Sharma recorded by me, it will be seen that he has chosen to admit before me only those portions of his statement recorded by the CBI, such as telephone calls, which he knew could not be denied as CBI has computer printouts of such telephone calls.
47. I am now setting out the salient features of the analysis of evidence against Ajay Sharma as appearing in the CBI report at Pages 97-103.
48. M.K. stated before CBI that during the India tour of New Zealand in 1990, Ajay Sharma used to telephonically provide him information about the weather, pitch, team composition etc. Ajay Sharma, in his statement before CBI, has said that it was not he but his roommate Manoj Prabhakar who used to provide said information to M.K. CBI has expressed the view that this appears unlikely as Manoj Prabhakar had not been personally introduced to M.K. till then and he had only a telephonic introduction through Ajay Sharma. CBI has therefore, concluded that M.K.'s statement seems more plausible. I am inclined to agree with CBI, because from the point of view of M.K., it did not matter whether he took the name of Ajay Sharma or Manoj Prabhakar, as the crux of the allegation is the information received by him.
49. CBI has correctly concluded that Manoj Prabhakar was introduced to M.K. by Ajay Sharma sometime after the New Zealand tour in 1990 but before the Indian team's tour of England in 1990.
50. M.K. however, stated before the CBI that the Delhi-Bombay Ranji Trophy Quarter Final match played in Delhi in 1991 was intentionally lost by Delhi as some of the players were committed to playing league cricket matches in England, the dates of which were clashing with the dates of further Ranji Trophy matches. Ajay Sharma was a member of the Delhi team and he confirmed before the CBI the same fact.