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2000 match-fixing case: Cops file chargesheet after 13 years, name Hansie Cronje

The Delhi police filed charges on Monday over the 2000 cricket fixing scandal involving the late South African captain Hansie Cronje, an officer said.

The charges filed in a New Delhi court involving six accused including book makers and Cronje, who died in a plane crash in 2002, come 13 years after the scandal sent shockwaves through the cricketing world.

"There are six accused in this case, three of them are on bail while two are abroad," Inspector Keshav Kumar told the court.

"The sixth is Hansie Cronje who is dead," said Kumar from the Crime Branch of New Delhi police and the investigating officer in the case.

Hansie Cronje
Hansie Cronje, who died in a plane crash on June 1, 2002 had admitted taking bribes from Indian bookmakers for information and match fixing.

Police presented the charge sheet to the metropolitan magistrate with the alleged offences dating back to South Africa's 2000 tour of India.

The charge sheet was filed before link magistrate Akash Jain as Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Amit Bansal was on leave.

The 90-page charge sheet will come up for consideration tomorrow before CMM Bansal.

Police has named Cronje, who was killed in a plane crash in 2002, in column 2 of the charge sheet -- which lists the accused who are dead or against whom proceedings are abated.

London-based bookie Sanjeev Chawla, bookie Manmohan Khattar, T-Series owner Gulshan Kumar's brother Kishan Kumar, Delhi-based bookie Rajesh Kalra and Sunil Dara alias Bittoo have also been named as accused.

No other cricketer has been named in the charge sheet.

According to police sources, the charge sheet is mostly based on King's Commission report, confession of Hansie Cronje and telephonic intercepts.  

Cronje had initially denied taking bribes but later admitted taking money from Indian bookmakers to influence matches during the tour.

The scandal broke when New Delhi police, working on an unrelated extortion case, tapped a telephone conversation between Cronje and one of the bookies, Chawla.

Chawla is believed to be living in the UK and Indian police hope to seek his extradition now that the charge sheet has been placed before the court.

Cronje was banned from cricket for life and sacked as captain after the police revelations.

He admitted to a South African commission investigating the scandal to taking thousands of dollars in bribes from bookies to underperform.

Delhi police have alleged that Cronje persuaded some of his teammates, including Herschelle Gibbs, to agree to underperform in a one-day match in 2000, including by making fewer runs than he might otherwise have tallied.

Gibbs and bowler Henry Williams were both banned from playing for six-months and fined by South African authorities over their admissions in the scandal.

The scandal broke when New Delhi police, working on an unrelated extortion case, tapped a telephone conversation between Cronje and one of the bookies, Sanjeev Chawla.

Chawla is believed to be living in the UK and Indian police hope to seek his extradition now that the charge sheet has been placed before the court.

"We will now request the court to grant approval to seek extradition of Chawla from the UK to India," Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime), Ravindra Yadav, told AFP.

"The UK government does not allow extradition without the charge cheet. We are almost sure Chawla is in England," he said.

Yadav said the case was one of "criminal conspiracy" and has only now been filed in court after police finally received in January this year voice samples from tapped phone conversations.

"This is criminal conspiracy. People went to the ground to watch the games thinking they would be played in the true spirit. They did not know the outcome was fixed. That's why we have filed the charges," he said. 

Monday's action comes after Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar told local media that he planned to file charges in the Cronje fixing case and a separate Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal, before the end of the month.

In May this year, during the investigation in the spot-fixing case in which police have arrested 29 people including three cricket players -- S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila--the attention of the investigators was drawn to a pending case in which Cronje and others were named. 

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