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England players cleared of fixing charges

Published: Monday, November 27, 2000, 23:53 [IST]
 
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London: After a 16-month investigation, Scotland Yard detectives have cleared England cricketers of corruption allegations, London's 'Sunday Times' reported on Sunday. The detectives examined the claims made by Chris Lewis, former Test all-rounder, last year that bookies had told him that a few English players had taken money from them in return for match-information. 'The Times' said the Scotland Yard officers were about to pass a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The file contained allegations about many bookies but did not contain evidence against players. Lewis had said that he was approached in August last year by some Indians posing as businessmen and offered 300,000 pounds to recruit players to fix the result of England-New Zealand Test at Old Trafford later that month. Lewis refused and reported the matter to the England and Wales Cricket Board. The matter was later passed on to Scotland Yard. Three of the Indians, living in Britain, were arrested five months ago and questioned about their involvement and earlier this month, two others residing in Delhi and Mumbai were also interrogated, the report said. The report hinted the file cleared the players of the allegations but recommended prosecution of a number of other men. CPS lawyers will consider the contents of the file next month before taking a decision on whether to prosecute or not. One of the Scotland Yard detectives recently spent three weeks in India and Pakistan interviewing a number of people. A team of officers of Scotland Yards' SO7 Serious and Organised Crime Group, has conducted its investigation separately from the International Cricket Council's inquiry headed by Sir Paul Condon, former metropolitan police commissioner. Condon's team is still investigating allegations about a number of players, including Alec Stewart, the former England captain, named in the CBI report into match-fixing. Stewart has denied the charge. Along with all other players who took part in the Old Trafford Test Stewart was questioned by detectives last year. The report quoting a police official said a file would soon be passed to the CPS but it did not recommend that players be charged.

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