हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

British team meets CBI officials

Published: Saturday, November 4, 2000, 16:45 [IST]
 
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New Delhi: Members of a British investigating team, in India to probe the match-fixing and betting allegations against England batsman Alec Stewart, on Saturday met senior officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and tried to ascertain the exact nature of charges against him.The British team, led by former top London officer Paul Condon, who now heads the International Cricket Board'santi-corruption unit, arrived here on Friday. They met Special Director R N Sawani and his investigating team members at the CBI headquarters on Saturday morning.The meeting continued for about two hours between 11.30 and 13.30 hours during which the two officials - Martin Hawkins and L N Peacock - tried to gather information about the extent to which allegations have been made against Stewart and the evidence available to support the charges. The team, which is in India for a few days, will once again hold deliberations with the CBI officials after their first phase of investigation is over. CBI has assured all assistance to the team. The team may alsomeet Director R K Raghavan. Stewart allegedly received 5,000 pounds from bookie Mukesh Kumar Gupta alias 'MK' for providing information related to pitch, weather and team composition in 1993. Stewart was introduced to the bookie by former Indian all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar.The team is likely to question both 'MK' and Prabhakar about the allegations. The questioning could be possible only after a formal request to the CBI, which is investigating the case in India. Asked whether the CBI will have any objection to the team talking to 'MK' and Prabhakar, the agency spokesman said the Bureau will not object. Stewart, 37, who has played 102 Tests and 137 One-day Internationals, has denied the allegations. The decision not to suspend Stewart has, meanwhile, caused controversy in England, especially as ECB chairman Lord MacLaurin called only weeks ago for the suspension of several Pakistan Test players facing allegations of irregularities involving bookmakers.Ramiz Raja, a former Test batsman, who is now a member of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said, ''Lord MacLaurin pushed his nose into our affairs at the start of the tour and it was wrong for him to do so. He should clear his own house before worrying about others. His comments were ill-timed and without justification. You should need proof before you hang somebody.''Graeme Wright, the editor of Wisden, said that Lord MacLaurin's reputation had been damaged by his ''crassly insensitive'' comments. The 162-page report into corruption in cricket compiled by CBI includes a claim by Gupta that Stewart was introduced to the bookmaker by Prabhakar and received 5,000 pounds during the 1993 tour to give advice on weather, pitch conditions, team morale and composition.The ECB has proposed that Condon should be asked to look into the claims on behalf of all the Cricket Boards involved. Condon is sending a five-member team from his unit, including three former Scotland Yard detectives, to India to investigate the allegations and will also eventually interview Stewart.''People want to believe it (cricket) is all about skill, courage and heroic endeavour and not about some seedy conversation in dingy hotel rooms or on mobile phones,'' Condon said.He emphasised it was not his task to dispense justice, which was up to the ICC or the Boards in the individual countries. UNI

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