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UK police arrest man in 'fix' inquiry

Published: Sunday, January 14, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
 
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London: British police have arrested a man as part of an investigation into the alleged fixing of international cricket matches, Scotland Yard said on Sunday. Police did not identify the man but the 'Observer' newspaper on Sunday named him as London-based Indian bookmaker Sanjeev Chawla, 33.The paper said the investigation had been prompted by revelations from former England player Chris Lewis and focused on the drawn third Test match between England and New Zealand in August 1999. ''Metropolitan Police officers investigating allegations of cricket match-fixing arrested a 33-year-old man on December 13 in north London,'' a Scotland Yard spokeswoman told Reuters.''The Serious Organised Crime Group interviewed the man and released him on bail until January 31. ''The investigation was launched after information was passed on by a player to the England and Wales Cricket Board who then passed it onto the police. It follows a specific allegation of corruption.''The Observer said Lewis had been approached by Aushim Kheterpal - described as a close associate of Chawla - and was told that pounds 300,000 was on offer if the England team performed in a certain way during the match. Kheterpal told Lewis to try and get fellow England players Alec Stewart and Alan Mullally on board, the paper said. But instead of approaching them, Lewis went to England team bosses and reported the matter.Last year disgraced former South African captain Hansie Cronje told a commission into match-fixing that Chawla had paid him between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000 for providing information and had pestered him with offers of bribes.Chawla has denied any involvement in match-fixing and said he had never met Cronje.Following Lewis's revelations, Stewart - one of the players named in a report by the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation into match-fixing - and Mullally were questioned by detectives who were satisfied that they had done nothing wrong, the paper said.Police also spoke to the New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming who told them he had also rejected approaches from Kheterpal, the 'Observer' said.The Scotland Yard spokeswoman said the inquiry was separate to the anti-corruption investigation, headed by former Metropolitan Police chief Sir Paul Condon, set up by the game's ruling body the International Cricket Council after the revelations of match-fixing were first made. On Thursday the ICC said Stewart, who denies receiving money from a bookmaker for passing on information about weather and pitch reports, had met with Condon and promised to co-operate fully with its investigation.(c) Reuters Limited. Click here for Restrictions

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