हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Azhar breaks silence, says he is innocent

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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New Delhi: Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin, who federal investigators said confessed to match-fixing, on Thursday denied the charge and claimed he was innocent. In his first interview since the release of the match-fixing report by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 1, Azharuddin told an Indian website he was confident his name will be cleared. "God wills you are defamed and then he alone saves your reputation. You wait and see," the 37-year-old told the Indian website. Asked if he had admitted to fixing matches, as claimed by the CBI, Azharuddin said: "they asked and they answered." He, however, did not reply when questioned about alleged bookmaker Mukesh Gupta, whom he reportedly introduced to former South African captain Hansie Cronje, a release from the website said. The CBI report said Azharuddin had admitted to fixing three One-day internationals. He was among the five Indian cricketers and a host of international stars named in the report. Azharuddin also denied the charge that he had links with the underworld. "This is all wrong, I have done nothing of this kind," he said. "I do not have any links with the underworld." Asked why he was photographed with some underworld figures, Azharuddin said, "how do I know with whom I click a picture every time." Azharuddin defended his decision to stay away from the public eye, holing himself at his luxury home in Hyderabad with his second wife Sangeeta Bijlani, a former model and actress. "I have said I will talk at an appropriate time. Not right now. I have nothing to say," the website quoted him as saying. "The Income Tax people were inquiring about some farm house on the outskirts of Bombay. I want to know too where I have a farm house. "They say whatever they want to," he said. Asked how he had been spending his time during the self-imposed seclusion Azharuddin said, "I keep on writing, something or the other, whatever comes to my mind." His wife paints for a good part of the day, the website said. To a reported suggestion by some friends that Sangeeta had been the cause of his troubles, Azharuddin smiled, glanced at his wife and said, "wonder what would have happened if I had not broken all ties with them (friends). I would have been in deeper trouble." Meanwhile, the anti-corruption commissioner of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said he would not recommend any punishment for the guilty players. "I will not recommend any punishment and allow the BCCI to decide the appropriate action against the guilty," K Madhavan said. Madhavan said he would submit his report about the conduct of five players - Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar, Nayan Mongia and Ajay Sharma - and former team physiotherapist Ali Irani, to BCCI President A C Muthiah on Saturday. Madhavan said he will not be examining other cricketers, including former coach Kapil Dev, who was absolved of any wrongdoing by the CBI. "After considering the CBI report and the statements made before me by the players and others, I do not consider it necessary to summon and examine any other person," he said

AFP

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