BCCI asks Delhi Police stand on SA tour issue

Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:With the South African cricket tour of India drawing nearer, the issue of possible questioning of two key players of the visiting team in connection with a year 2000 match-fixing case has revived with Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) seeking to know the Delhi Police stand on the issue.

In the backdrop of reported threat by the South African team not to go ahead with the tour if Nicky Boje and Herschelle Gibbs were questioned here, BCCI has written to Delhi Police Commissioner K K Paul to ascertain whether the two will be questioned if they come here later this year.

Police, which had earlier sought to question the two, was undecided on the matter as yet.

"We have received the letter and are examining it," Paul told PTI here today, adding the letter was yet to be responded to.

Asked about the status of the case, he said "everybody knows what it is".

The match-fixing racket, which saw former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin, and former South African captain late Hansie Cronje being banned from the game for life, was unearthed by the Crime Branch in April 2000 when they intercepted a telephonic conversation between punters and some players.

Police sources said the case had not been closed yet and they still wanted to question Boje and Gibbs in the case, which rocked the cricket world.

The immediate provocation for the BCCI move appears to be a recent communication by Delhi Police to South Africa to help it in questioning the two as their names figured in the match-fixing case being probed by the Crime Branch, the sources said.

The communication was a reminder after the earlier such request failed to elicit any response, they said.

A media report in South Africa last week had claimed that their team may pull out of the Test series against India if there was no assurance that Gibbs and Boje would not be prosecuted during the series.

According to a South African website 'Beeld' report, denied by South Board's Media Officer Moabi Litheko, the players apparently have decided to unite and refuse to go on tour if Gibbs and Boje were not included in the touring party.

"I don't really want to go to India if I am not 100 percent convinced that nothing will happen to me. I want to be guaranteed indemnity from prosecution before I go," Boje was quoted as saying by the website.

Referring to the possibility that his teammates may unite and boycott the tour, Boje said, "I believe the guys will stand together. I believe the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) will resolve the matter".

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