Former Indian cricket stars could be in trouble as Delhi Police extradite bookie Sanjeev Chawla

Delhi Police extradite bookie Sanjeev Chawla
Sanjeev Chawla, left, and the late Hansie Cronje. Screengrab

New Delhi: Several Indian cricket stars of yesteryear could be in trouble as the Delhi Police extradited Sanjeev Chawla, the alleged mastermind of match-fixing case involving former South African captain late Hansie Cronje, from London on Thursday.

Chawla, a British national as per Delhi Police charge sheet, absconding hitherto in the match-fixing case, was linked with several international cricketers, including Indian players, sources in the crime branch of the Delhi Police revealed.

Dossier prepared on Sanjeev Chawla by Crime Branch reveals that several Indian cricketers were frequenting his bungalow, 4, Monk Ville Avenue, London and their phone numbers figured on Chawla's phone list in Call Data Records (CDRs) recovered by police for the period of January to March, 2000.

It was during period this period (February-March, 2000) when conspiracy to fix matches was unearthed during the India-South Africa series played in India.

"As Chawla had slipped to London, he could not be interrogated and subsequently the CDRs connecting the then Indian cricketers with the global bookie was not pursued," a former commissioner of Delhi police told IANS.

Crime Branch has also gathered documents from Scotland Yard, whose sleuths arrested Chawla in 2001 in another betting scandal involving English players. On the basis of a statement of former England all-rounder Chris Lewis who alleged that Chawla had offered bribe to the then England captain Alec Stewart to under perform in matches, the Scotland Yard questioned Chawla and a prominent Indian sports promoter.

During investigation it was revealed that several players from India, Pakistan, the West Indies and South Africa were in touch with Chawla and many visited bookie's restaurant, East is East, located at 230, Commercial Road London EI 2NB.

Regarding Chawla's relations with Dubai based betting syndicates, former Delhi police commissioner Ajay Raj Sharma said a UAE number, used by a member of the underworld was initially traced by the Delhi police. Chawla's links with underworld will be probed once he is interrogated in police custody.

The Delhi police charge sheet reveals that phone number of Krishna Kumar (of T-Series music group) one of the associates of Sanjeev Chawla, was directly linked with a phone number of Saheen Haithley, an alleged member of underworld operating from Dubai in early 2000.

" I am eagerly awaiting the outcome of questioning of Chawla, the mastermind of match-fixing case who paid huge amounts to several cricketers to change results of important international matches. His interrogation will unravel more scandals of the past," said Ajay Raj Sharma, former IPS officer who headed Delhi Police when match-fixing case rocked the cricketing fraternity across the globe.