'Chawla is part of big betting network'

Published: Monday, January 15, 2001, 20:30 [IST]
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London: Sanjeev Chawla, the Indian bookmaker arrested here for alleged involvement in cricket match-fixing, has been found to be at the centre of a much wider betting scandal, according to investigations here.Chawla was arrested by Scotland Yard last month following investigations into a complaint by former England cricketer Chris Lewis. The arrest came independently of action sought formally through a letter rogatory from New Delhi.Lewis had complained that a Chawla associate had offered English players half a million dollars to lose the Test match with New Zealand in August1999.The complaint from Lewis and the letter rogatory have started off a wider investigation. The investigation is being conducted both by Scotland Yard and by a commission of inquiry being headed by Sir Paul Condon, former chief of the metropolitan police in London.Available evidence shows Chawla to be a part of a far wider betting network. The investigations have shown that London has been a center for a betting-fixing business that spreads across the cricket world. It shows also that this global business has been primarily in the hands of Indian bookies.But investigations into the match-fixing scandal are running into barriers in Pakistan and South Africa, according to well-placed sources. The police are investigating leads following Chawla's interrogation and studies of reports by India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Qayyam report in Pakistan and the King Commission report in South Africa. That investigation will mean extensive networking with the local police in these countries.British officers have visited India in connection with these investigations. But, the police have faced some resistance from Pakistani authorities in conducting investigations that could take them beyond the Qayyam report.Investigations in South Africa have been carried out primarily through the King Commission and the cricket board. But an internationally networked operation will need an internationally networked police investigation to crack it, the sources say.Police action in London, based on the letter rogatory sent from Delhi, is still awaited. Scotland Yard is basing much of its investigation on information supplied by Delhi police and the CBI report into match-fixing. The letter rogatory from Delhi was sent to the authorities in London through Interpol and diplomatic channels. Investigators are now looking for a wider role for Interpol to co-ordinate police investigations in different countries.India Abroad News Service

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