'Match-fixing chapter still not closed'

Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2001, 0:14 [IST]
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New Delhi: A murkier phase of match-fixing may yet come to light as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is awaiting replies to its letters rogatory sent to various countries including Britain and South Africa.
Stating that the FERA cases against former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin and cricketer Ajay Jadeja were still being probed, highly-placed agency sources said "some headway could be made only after the reply to our letters rogatory comes from the two countries". The sources said since all the FERA cases would be treated closed by May 31 next year, the Directorate was pursuing the matter vigorously to arrive at a conclusion. The Enforcement Directorate was probing the suspected role of Azharuddin, Jadeja, bollywood actor Krishan Kumar, London-based NRI businessman Sanjeev Chawla, South African businessman Hamid Banjo Qassim and alleged bookie Mukesh Kumar to ascertain whether any alleged hawala transactions had taken place. Directorate sources said if need arose, the agency might again dispatch a reminder to the earlier LRs as the deadline was approaching fast. However, the sources said so far there had been no such need to call either Azharuddin or Jadeja for questioning as the investigations were not confined to their role but whether any money had been paid to "interested parties" through hawala channel. The sources said Azharuddin and Jadeja were among a host of people covered by the investigation, which was still going on. The sources denied media reports that the Directorate had closed the case and that it did not have enough manpower to complete the investigations into the case. While admitting that thousands of FERA violation cases, forwarded by the Reserve Bank of India, were pending and had to be completed before May 31 next year, the Directorate sources said "efforts were on to expedite the case besides seeing that justice was ensured". The sources said after examining all pros and cons of the case a decision would be taken. "If the agency is not able to gather enough evidence by May 31 next year, we might even contemplate a move to put the case before the adjudicator," the sources said. Besides, Income Tax appraisal report was also awaited as the tax men carried out massive countrywide raids against cricketers, administrators and alleged bookies last year.

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